My essentials: Joseph Calleja’s cultural picks

No 1 | Joseph Calleja, 43, Opera Singer and Maltese Cultural Ambassador

Tenor Joseph Calleja
Tenor Joseph Calleja

1. Books

I read almost anything, from biographies, fiction to historical novels, Jan Guillou and Bernard Cornwell being my favourite from the latter. Although I am away for most of the time, I do follow many articles that concern our beloved Malta. It is sometimes sad to note that hypocrisy and double standards (not to mention fanaticism and misplaced idolization) often get in the way of meaningful public discourse. Many, on our beautiful island, need to learn the art of discussion and of healthy argumentation. Some seem to believe that freedom of speech is only applicable when you agree with them.

2. Film/TV

Haven’t watched any film of note recently, but I loved the series “The Good Doctor” which follows the life of a genius, autistic doctor, based on a South Korean TV drama. I would certainly recommend it. It’s sort of like Dr. House (another favourite) but not quite.

3. Internet 

I mostly follow the portals of MaltaToday and The Times of Malta. Both offer excellent articles, news and insights. Otherwise, I use the internet mostly for work and to bond (when I am away) with my son Xandru playing Valorant – a game in which I get my ass handed to me by much better teenagers!

4. Music

My favourite song out of opera, definitely Wicked Game (Chris Isaak). My friends have a video of me singing it when I was very drunk (just don’t drink gin). I certainly hope this video will never see the light of day. Favourite band of all time must be Queen. Greatest and favourite performer alive today, I would say Andrea Bocelli. The latter is perhaps, the most versatile musician an artist I have ever met.

5. Place

I would love to discover the ruggedness of New Zealand. Some say it’s very similar to the Highlands in Scotland. When I am not singing, I love to be in the outdoors, fly fishing, climbing Munros, and swimming in freezing lakes. I also love horse riding when I am not weighing as much as a baby elephant – my weight tends to fluctuate thanks to Michael Tabone’s wines, mouth-watering cheeses, and Fermier oysters… A lot is said about Malta’s over development, but actually, the island still has magnificent walks, especially in the Mellieha, Majjistral Park area.