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Another excellent effort from Mr Calleja
on 4 September 2013
In his mid 30's Joseph Calleja by any standards is an impressive tenor and certainly when compared to others singing in the past 10 years or so, IMHO is at the very top. With Jonas Kaufmann I think they are at the point of today's pyramid of singers. Kaufmann is is equal but I cannot think of anyone better.
This album is lighter and more easy listening than his last offering (also superb) and features songs from Italy and the Mediterranean area as well as film and other works. He has been compared to Pavarotti but my opinion is that he has a more distinctive voice that is more Caruso/Schipa/Bjorling in that it has a distinctiveness that not only takes him from the mainstream of 'same' voices but also makes him easy to identify.
I really like his interpretations of these songs, my favourite probably being La Vie en Rose which surprised me. There is not a bad track on this album and I believe 90% of listeners will enjoy 90% or more of the content (assuming you didn't arrive here by mistake while looking for Led Zepplin). The fact that they have included duets with Nicola Benedetti including Mattinata, which they performed together at the Last Night of the Proms 2012 enhances the album further.
I am reviewing this from Spotify and the quality on the High Quality stream is excellent so I have to assume the CD quality will be better. Engineering seems to be very good and the BBC Concert Orchestra under Steven Mercurio are sympathetic to Joseph Calleja's interpretations.
I look forward to seeing him in the role of Enrico Caruso in the forthcoming major film The Immigrant starring Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cottilard, due for release at the end of this year I think.