Maestro Joseph Vella, One of Malta`s Most Beloved Sons
On Friday 27th March 2020, world-renowned tenor Joseph Calleja performed a unique set of songs and arias from his home in Mellieħa, Malta, in a musical drive dedicated to the Maltese population and particularly to all those frontline health workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
The event, supported by Malta`s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, was streamed on Times of Malta’s website and Facebook page. Fans were invited, through the tenor’s official Facebook page, to suggest arias and songs they would like to hear Calleja perform.
The final list included all-time favourites like La Vie En Rose and E Lucevan Le Stelle, but Calleja chose to include one of his very own favourites, alongside those of his own fans: Maestro Joseph Vella`s “Il-Kebbies Tal-Fanali” (Opus 18).
Joseph Calleja`s appreciation for Maestro Vella`s work, composed in 1973 to words by Anton Buttigieg, thereafter appointed President of Malta (from 1976 to 1981), is evident, given that he performs this work regularly across the world. In 2017, for instance, “Il-Kebbies Tal-Fanali” was performed by Calleja at the official opening concert of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, in Brussels, Belgium.
During the streamed event, the world-class tenor took the opportunity to pay a glowing tribute to Maestro Vella, describing the latter as one of Malta`s most beloved sons, being a musical talent at par with the world`s best composers.
A sincere thank you to Joseph Calleja for these heartfelt words.