Tenor Joseph Calleja Featured at Last Night's 2013 Kennedy Center Honors
Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja gave a very special surprise performance at last night's presentation of the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors. In tribute to preeminent American soprano Martina Arroyo, one of this year's five Honorees, Calleja sang the aria "Celeste Aida" from Verdi's Aida before joining soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, the Army Herald Trumpets, the US Naval Academy Glee Club, and alumni of the Martina Arroyo Foundation's programs for the Act II finale from the same work (Arroyo was a noted interpreter of the title role). Attended by President and Mrs. Obama, as well as by Arroyo and her fellow Honorees (actress Shirley MacLaine and musicians Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, and Carlos Santana), the star-studded celebration will be broadcast nationwide in a two-hour primetime special on CBS-TV on Sunday, December 29 at 9pm ET/PT.
As Calleja explains: "It was a real privilege to participate in this tribute to Martina Arroyo, for whom I have the most profound respect. Thanks to her incomparable voice and to the work she does for young artist development through the Martina Arroyo Foundation, her contribution to opera is invaluable."
Until December 20, the tenor may also be heard in another Verdi masterpiece at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where his portrayal of Alfredo in the company's new production of La traviata has been heralded as a "triumph" (Chicago Tribune).
The Maltese tenor may also currently be heard on record and seen on film. October saw the U.S. release of Amore, his new album of romantic arias for Decca Classics; recorded with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Steven Mercurio, the new disc takes inspiration from legendary tenors Gigli, Schipa, and Caruso, and has already drawn praise in Europe, where the Daily Mail urged: "Do get his new album of popular favorites, Amore (five stars). He sounds especially joyous throughout." And Calleja makes his motion picture debut in James Gray's new film The Immigrant, which premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and is soon to be released worldwide.