The Maltese Tenor sings in Gainsborough

Joseph Calleja stayed with his Aunty Irene in Scotter during two summer vacations as a teenager.

Monday, 23rd April 2012, 5:30 pm

She recognised his exceptional singing talent and encouraged Joseph to take voice lessons.

Last month Irene was contacted by Niall O’Rourke, artistic director of Decca Classics, asking if she would be interested in appearing in a documentary for his new album.

They wanted to film Joseph and his aunt talking about the time he had spent with her as a youth.

As he was going to be in the local area Irene asked if he would like to perform with her local group Gainsborough Choral Society, thinking this might be fun for him and a wonderful experience for us.

Joseph thought this a great idea and on Saturday 31st March we sang Cesar Franck’s Panis Angelicus (Bread of Angels) in All Saints’ Church in Gainsborough.

As we rehearsed, with Simon Corner accompanying on the organ, a voice was heard soaring above us, filling the church with the most wonderful sound.

Joseph entered singing as he walked up the aisle. The moment was breath-taking, an emotional experience for us all. We shall never forget that entrance or the thrill of being so close to such an amazing voice.

The film crew were delighted with the footage and wish to thank the Choral Society for their beautiful singing and the church personnel for the chance to make the recording.

Now 34, Joseph has sung in many of the world’s major opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York and London’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.

His fine lyric voice has made him one of the most sought after tenors in the world.

Carolyn Walton

Gainsborough Choral Society