Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Bags of elegance, passion and charm.
Blessed with "a golden-age voice" (The Sunday Times) that routinely inspires comparisons with legendary singers from earlier eras, Joseph Calleja follows the success of The Maltese Tenor with a tribute to one of the most popular tenors of all time; the unique star of the Hollywood musical.
This is an album that Joseph Calleja has always wanted to record. As a young boy in Malta he saw Lanza in the cult film The Great Caruso and was so captivated that he gave up his predilection for Metallica and Iron Maiden, and followed his dream to become an opera singer.
Born in America to Italian parents, Mario Lanza was an International screen idol and recording star with a fan base to rival Elvis Presley. The album includes all the Lanza evergreens including "Be My Love" (from The toast of New Orleans) and "You'll Never Walk Alone' (Carousel) as well as opera arias made famous by his movies performances, including "Addio alla Madre" (Cavalleria rusticana) and "Nessun Dorma".
The Times, September 2012
Calleja doesn't suffer from...self-imposed comparisons: the voice is burnished and focused; the top notes whammy yet unforced; the legato tone garnished with saccharine slithers but not sloppy. Calleja doesn't do final consonants; and sometimes you wish his conductor (Steven Mercurio) had encouraged more ebb and flow. But these throbbing ballads will delight Calleja's fans.
The Independent, September 2012
It's an unashamedly populist collection, Calleja rolling the Rs of "Granada" and "Arrivederci, Roma" with obvious relish in arrangements replete with castanets and trilling mandolins, before building to the full football climax with spirited renditions of "Nessun Dorma" and a mighty "You'll Never Walk Alone"
BBC Music Magazine, December 2012
Calleja is not a Mario Lanza: he's a gifted lyric tenor with a voice that is most comfortable in the head...there's a nice throb in the voice in Lara's Granada...and Tosti's 'A vucchella' would seduce a slab of marble. But 'Vesti la giubba'. 'Cielo e mar' and 'Nessun dorma' all lack vocal drama.
Tributee: Mario Lanza .
Tributee: Mario Lanza .
Liner Note Authors: Derek Mannering; Joseph Calleja.
Recording information: The Colosseum, Watford (02/21/2012-02/28/2012).
Photographer: Simon Fowler .
Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja claims that Mario Lanza's performance in The Great Caruso taught him that there was more to music than Iron Maiden and Metallica, inspiring him to take up an operatic career in the process. So there's little wonder why the man widely regarded as one of the greatest tenors of the 21st century sounds so at home on this 18-track tribute to the '40s/'50s legend. Backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and their conductor Steven Mercurio, Be My Love may remain resolutely faithful to the original arrangements of both Neapolitan classics such as "La Fleur Que Tu M'avais Jetée" from Bizet's Carmen, "Vesti la Guibba" from Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, and "Mamma, Quel Vino è Generoso" from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and romantic musical numbers such as the title track, "The Loveliest Night of the Year," and "Serenade." But whether he's rolling his Rs on the enchanting mandolin-led "Arrivederci Roma" or blasting the roof off with his tour de force tones on Mexican standard "Granada," Calleja's obvious passion for the material ensures that Be My Love never feels like an artist simply going through the motions. The track listing could undoubtedly do with a bit of a shuffle, with the middle section of arias a little heavy going compared to the lighter material surrounding it, while the emotionally stirring renditions of football favorites "Nessun Dorma" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" would have served as a more suitable finale than the elegant balladry of "Because." But nitpicking aside, Be My Love is an affectionate tribute that justifies Calleja's rising star status. ~ Jon O'Brien
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