. Interchanging Idioms: Tenor Joseph Calleja, a Fixture at the Met This Season, Reprises His Star-Making Role There: The Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tenor Joseph Calleja, a Fixture at the Met This Season, Reprises His Star-Making Role There: The Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto

Joseph Calleja, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2006 as Verdi’s Duke of Mantua, returns to the role at the Met in a January 11-27 run of Rigoletto. This season sees Calleja as a fixture at the great New York house; he began with performances as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème in December, inspiring the Associated Press to remark that he had “a voice unlike anyone else on the operatic scene today” and that there was “an alluring sweetness” and “irresistible tenderness” to it. After Rigoletto, the Maltese tenor returns to the Met in February and March to sing Edgardo opposite Natalie Dessay in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, which will be transmitted live on March 19 to movie theaters around the world, as part of the “Met: Live in HD” series. In addition to Calleja’s stage performances, January sees the U.S. release of EMI Classics’ DVD of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra from Covent Garden, starring Plácido Domingo in the title role and Calleja in his role debut as Gabriele Adorno.

Joseph Calleja was only 28 years of age when he made his Met debut as the Duke in 2006, prompting the New York Times to note his “rich and expressive” voice. Now 32, the Maltese tenor “has matured into one of the finest lyric tenors before the public today,” according to a recent Associated Press review of Houston Grand Opera’s season-opening new production of Madama Butterfly, which starred Calleja as Pinkerton. The cast of the Met’s current revival production of Rigoletto features Nino Machaidze as Gilda and Giovanni Meoni in the title role, besides Calleja as the Duke. Paolo Arrivabeni conducts.

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