Tenor Joseph Calleja Stars Opposite Marion Cotillard, in THE IMMIGRANT, Opening Today
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja "magnificently impersonates" his idol Enrico Caruso in the feature film The Immigrant, which opens today, May 16, in New York City and Los Angeles.
The Immigrant stars Academy Award-winner Marion Cotillard as Ewa Cybulska, a young Polish woman struggling to realize the American dream in a 1920s New York filled with lures and snares; directed by James Gray, the film also stars Joaquin Phoenix as Bruno Weiss, a nightclub Svengali who introduces Ewa to the New World, and Jeremy Renner as Bruno's rival, Orlando the Magician.
Calleja portrays Caruso in a scene on Ellis Island, where the legendary Italian tenor sings an aria from Puccini's La Rondine for an audience of new immigrants. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gray revealed that the scene is based on an actual concert Caruso gave on Ellis Island; the director, an opera fan, laced other references to Puccini throughout the movie, as well as to Gounod and Wagner.
Premiered last spring at the Cannes Film Festival, The Immigrant was called a "rich, beautifully rendered film" by Variety and listed by IndieWire as one of "21 Best Films of 2014 We've Already Seen."
Calleja's Decca album Amore was released in the U.S. this past fall. The tenor took his inspiration for the recording from his hero Caruso, as well as such iconic tenors as Beniamino Gigli and Tito Schipa. In its five-star review, the UK's Daily Mail urged: "Do get his new album of popular favorites, Amore. He sounds especially joyous throughout."
Spring and summer engagements for Calleja include Verdi's Requiem with conductor Antonio Pappano and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and Chorus in England (Birmingham, May 16; London, May 18). The tenor plays the Earl of Leicester in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda alongside Joyce DiDonato in the title role at the Deutsche Oper-Berlin (June 4, 7), and in a string of performances at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, he plays Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly (June 12, 14, 19), Macduff in Verdi's Macbeth alongside Anna Netrebko (June 27, July 1) and Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata (July 4, 7, 10). On July 18, Calleja returns to his native Malta for his annual open-air concert at the Granaries in Floriana.