‘Bigger’ Calleja concert next year – Article, The Times of Malta, 31st July 2010

 Riding on the success of Joseph Calleja’s concert on Thursday, the organisers are promising an even bigger and better one next year to keep the concept fresh.

 This is the second year in which the world famous tenor has performed alongside local and international artists and it looks set to become a staple event on the summer cultural calendar.

 Anton Attard from NNG Promotions said that some 9,000 people packed the Granaries in Floriana, 2,000 more than last year, and the children’s choir had practically doubled to 500.

 “Next year we would like to come up with something better. We keep building on previous years to keep the concert exciting,” he said.

 The concert – similar to the Pavarotti and Friends concerts, which were organised by the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti who teamed up with famous singers to perform alongside him – this year brought to Malta American legend Dionne Warwick and popular Italian singer Riccardo Cocciante.

 But Joseph Calleja is also keen on exposing emerging local talent, so each year singers get to share the stage with Malta’s finest music export.

 The concert, which had been postponed by five days because of the forecast gale force winds, was staged on a perfect night under the stars and a radiant moon with the backdrop of the Floriana parish church lit for the occasion.

 Joseph Calleja’s first number was Andrea Bocelli’s classic Canto Della Terra and he later teamed up with Raquela Dalli Gonzi for another Bocelli favourite Vivo Per Lei. He then performed a duet with the President’s daughter, Maria Abela, to interpret La Traviata.

 He again mesmerised the audience with his perfect rendition of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, after receiving a standing ovation at the Luxol Grounds last year. Other solo highlights included Il Gladiatore.

 The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra’s musicians, mostly under the baton of multi-faceted musician Paul Bateman, struck the right notes.

 Riccardo Cocciante wooed the audience with his poetic songs and the passion he injected into each interpretation. The song that got the biggest applause was his San Remo winner Se Stiamo Insieme, especially when the Maltese tenor joined him onstage for the refrains.

Dionne Warwick added soul and jazz to the proceedings; her performance was rather low key until she teamed up with her son David Elliott to sing the chart-topping That’s What Friends Are For.

 Some fans had been expecting more duets with Joseph Calleja but Mr Attard said these had to be planned within reason. It would have been pointless teaming Joseph Calleja with Dionne Warwick if their musical styles did not match.

 People in one section of the standing side complained that the sound was poor and failed to do justice to the performers, especially when it came to the 500-strong children’s choir. When asked about this Mr Attard said that according to their experts the sound had been just fine.

 The concert closed off at 11.45 p.m., with successive encores and the audience shouting out for more after Calleja sang the Neapolitan classic O Sole Mio.

For further information, kindly contact 77 Great Estates on (00356) 2125 2455; (00356) 9944 7444; skype: info.77GreatEstates or info@77GreatEstates.com.

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