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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 2 September 2013
The Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned, so I have to admit I am quite biased in reviewing this disc. Anyone who heard him live at the Proms last year will surely have been moved by his extraordinary voice, allied to an ardent, unselfconscious temperament that makes him a natural for this kind of heart-on-sleeve repertoire. You feel he really means the full-on romantic sentiment, and his one-in-a-million vocal gift allows him to make it totally convincing and heartrending!

This new CD has been a year coming, and finds him going down a lighter path than in his last tribute to Mario Lanza, Be My Love, which in itself was lighter that his previous more purely operatic discs. The emphasis here is on the beautiful tune bursting forth spontaneously and within a fairly narrow range stylistically. It starts in a subdued manner with two charming numbers, Tosti's La Serenata, which I didn't know, and Besame Mucho, which everyone knows. Personally I love Dalida's version of this classic and Calleja can't match her shimmying, willowy form on stage, perhaps, but as with everything the sound is so beautiful he convinces you this is THE version as you listen. By track four he has risen to a massive crescendo of superb intensity in Dalla's Caruso, cushioned by a sonorous orchestral backing. Two songs by film composer Ennio Morricone come across particularly well, one of them a duet with Nicola Benedetti on the violin, called Mattinata. Another duet with her is an arrangement of the slow movement of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, which is very heavy-sounding after the airiness of the original, but actually sustained and impassioned in a way I'm sure Rodrigo would have liked. The numbers are nearly all highly memorable and emotional, concluding with Tchaikovsky's None but the Lonely Heart and an arrangement of a Chopin Etude, before a tasteful but powerful rendering of O Sole Mio. I would say this disc is absolute confirmation that Calleja is incomparable. His timbre can touch you in a unique way, and he spins pure gold out of every song he gives his voice to.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 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.
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on 5 September 2013
His voice is just pure pleasure, plus in every interview or performance I have seen him in he comes across as a lovely young man with, as we say in the north, no side to him.
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on 7 September 2013
What good value, what a magnificent eclectic collection and just what a voice! Style, style, style as well as that romantic, italianate timbre place him in the pantheon of great singers of any generation let alone his own!
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on 17 September 2013
Joseph Calleja gets better with every recording. Whilst just a smidgeon behind Pavarotti his type of singing of the numbers on this CD sets new standards. My wife will not stop playing this recording!
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on 18 January 2015
I didnt know who this man was before my husband said he wanted tickets to his concert at the Royal Opera House, as a combined Christmas and January birthday present. At £170 per ticket and having to buy 2, I decided against it. I wasn't prepared to pay that much for a concert I may not enjoy, or pay that much for one of his friends to accompany him. So I bought the album as a stocking filler.

He loved it and I love it. My husband described him as the new Pavarotti, but I think he's more than that. Certainly a great buy and a swift delivery with Amazon Prime.
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on 16 January 2015
Oh! Fantastic. What a beautiful pure voice this man has. So many tenors seem to strain to hit those high Cs. Not this guy. He just floated on up there. I bought this CD rather than one of arias as I have the most popular ones already by several different tenors. I'm so pleased I did!
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on 13 September 2013
I took delivery of this Album today and have played it 4 times in succession. it is beautiful to listen to. I woukd definitly recomend this Album' five stars plus twenty times.
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on 11 September 2013
With a great choice of songs and an untouchable tenor anything this man sings is pure velvet and gold. His latest CD which further enhances his already unassailable reputation.
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on 24 September 2013
This is an album for lovers of great singing. Joseph Calleja gives us a mix of very well known traditional favorites and more modern classics. I am very traditional in my tastes and wasn't sure if I would enjoy some of the modern ones but I am completely won over by the artistry and musicianship with which Joseph delivers the music. It is in my view the mark of a truly great artist to be able to take the simplest music and create a masterpiece, not too sentimental and never forgetting the traditions of his or her art, with this album Joseph has shown once again that as well as being a magnificent artist on the operatic stage, he can also add distinction to the lighter repertoire. If I have the slightest reservation it is only with the rather soupy heavy handed orchestration if the very last track O Sole Mio. It is all too tempting to make comparison with other great tenors, Joseph follows in a great tradition, his voice and delivery has reminders of his forbears but he has his own special place.
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