Well, either if she is known there or not, it is a very good way to introduce Hayley to the maltese audience, with the local biggest classical star (at least as they seem to say he is). Malta is small, so I don't think the1 reasons are really commercial, I'd think it's just another concert in an unusual place. But, oh, well, every country where she gains recognition is a step forward, even if it's a small one.
The following article has appeared in The Sunday Times of Malta newspaper posted on twitter by vxmpzre (our Spiderman)
Reaching new heights
Singing sensation Hayley Westenra has a 10-year career behind her – and she’s just 24. David Schembri spoke with the one of the most talented singers of her generation ahead of her performance with Joseph Calleja on July 9.
Hayley Westenra might not yet be a household name but search her name on the video-sharing website Youtube and you’ll find her impeccable renditions of classics like Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights and the hymn Amazing Grace have attracted millions of hits.
The classical crossover artist’s impeccable voice has catapulted her to the main arena, earning her duets with the likes of Andrea Bocelli and José Carreras, while she lends her voice to various soundtracks.
Westenra’s first album was released in her native New Zealand when she was 14, and she made her international debut two years later at 16.
Her debut international album Pure went straight in at the top spot in the UK Classical Charts and eighth on the pop charts, going on to achieve double platinum status, making her the biggest-selling classical artist of this century.
Her latest album, Paradiso, sees her working with legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, she says this album was a turning point in her performing career: “He really pushed me to my limits and I think that the music brought out the best in me and brought out more emotions than I’ve conveyed in the past.”
She admits she cried when she heard the recordings. Quite often, producers will encourage performers to do numerous takes and then polish the piece before the final product.
“But this record feels quite untouched and quite raw, and that’s what I was hoping for and I was really pleased. The music encouraged me to dig deep.”
Westenra grew up listening to a blend of music, and cites the likes of Maria Callas, Enya, Alanis Morissette and The Corrs as her influences.
Starting off at such a young age, she must have had a very different experience growing up.
“At first I used to take my schoolwork with me when I was travelling and I would just try to do it when I had the time, and then I ended up handing in work late. I then got a tutor to help me out and get through my exams. It helped, but it still was really difficult finding time to study,” the soprano says.
Her busy touring schedule and blossoming career meant she had to forego higher education.
“I like the idea of going to university or studying more; I just don’t have the time for it right now. I have the opportunity of working with great people and learning on the job. I feel like I’m developing as an artist... working with people from all different walks of life is an education in itself, I don’t feel held back by not continuing my studies,” she says.
“I knew I wanted to be a singer, it’s just an instinctual thing,” says the woman who went on to perform for Queen Elizabeth II, presidents and prime ministers.
Pointing out her keenness to develop her song writing, Westenra says she might try her hand at acting along with singing.
“Singing and acting go hand in hand sometimes – sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – that’s something I’m interested in.
“I don’t see myself moving away from music in a big way. This is my passion, but I’m sure I’ll want to take a break at some point, put my feet up and stay in the same place for a few months.”
Asked what inspires her music, which is considered to be uplifting, she replies: “I guess growing up in New Zealand I spent a lot of time outdoors, I still feel quite closely connected to nature. I’m quite a spiritual girl so I think my music does reflect that and I like the idea that my music may have helped someone get through tough times and that it has the power to heal.”
Westenra also has a philanthropic side to her growing CV – she is a Unicef ambassador and her initiatives included the Bikes for Ghana, which amassed 6,000 bicycles to be sent to the African nation.
The singer will be sharing the stage with tenor Joseph Calleja during his annual concert in July – and even though she never met Malta’s finest musical export, she is quick to point out she admires him.
“He has a wonderful voice, so it’s going to be a real treat to sing with him and to be introduced by him to his home crowd. The invitation came to my agent and I said yes immediately.
“We’ll be meeting probably a couple of days before for some rehearsals,” the New Zealander says.
“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to come and visit your beautiful country,” she concludes.
I hope she cried because of the beauty of what she had just done, not any other reason. That says something, moved to tears by her own music. I think she knows Paradiso is something special.
And yes, for me, all the best music has a strong spiritual dimesion, and it takes a spiritual person to make it! I'm not sure Ennio understands her spirituality as well as say James Horner, but Hayley herself understands it, and was able to express it on Paradiso.
Yeah ofcourse, the article doesn't hint otherwise anyway, she said she was very pleased with the album, so they are tears of joy haha.
Hmm...acting, I don't really think I want her doing that anytime at all XD, or atleast don't go taking main roles, or maybe decent neat roles XD, I just don't like the way actors are as a person, but we know our hayley knows her limits, we'll see haha.
Well, I don't think acting is something you just do with no training. She would need a stint at darma school first. But musical theatre - well perhaps - she has always admired Lloyd Webber's work. And since he has taken people off the street with little training and made leading performers of them....
On July 9, three of music’s most-loved artistes will be performing alongside each other during the annual Joseph Calleja concert at the Granaries in Malta.
This year, Malta’s home-grown tenor will be joined on stage by Italian pop icon Lucio Dalla and the New Zealand-born starlet, Hayley Westenra. Throughout the years, Joseph Calleja has gained immense respect not only for his natural ability as a tenor but also for his continued efforts to widen the appeal of his Malta concerts to include audiences who would normally miss classical music events.
Other initiatives include the setting up of a children’s choir and establishing low entry-level prices for the concerts he gives in Malta.
Born in Malta in the late 1970s, Joseph Calleja began singing at the age of 16, training with Maltese tenor Paul Asciak. He made his professional debut in Malta in 1997 as Macduff in Macbeth and won an award in the Belvedere Hans Gabor competition later that year. He went on to win the 1998 Caruso Competition in Milan and was a prize-winner in Domingo’s Operalia the following year.
This year he took on three signature roles at The Metropolitan Opera: Rodolfo in La Bohème, Edgardo opposite Natalie Dessay in Lucia di Lammermoor, and the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, the role in which he made his house debut in 2006.
The tenor’s third solo album was also released this year in Germany on May 20 and was followed by another successful release in Italy on May 24. The album is set to be released across the rest of Europe within the next month.
Lucio Dalla on the other hand, is well known for his creative touch and vast knowledge of the music industry. The Italian pop icon started out at an early age on an accordion and gradually learning how to play the clarinet. By the time he was 14 he was already performing in various jazz formations, little did he know how his musical career would rapidly unfold over the next few decades.
The cantautore holds an impressive music résumé with numerous album releases under his sleeve, including two “best of” CDs realeased in the early 2000s, DVDs, international tours, directing and TV programmes. Lucio Dalla’s musical curiosity knows no bounds from classical music in 2003 when he composed Tosca: Amore disperato – an opera inspired by Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca. He also directed the opera by Ferruccio Busoni, Arlecchino, in 2006 and collaboratedwith Roberto Roversi at the beginning of his career.
He is equally famous for highly popular songs like Caruso and Attenti Al Lupo – both of which were top-selling releases.
New Zealand-born music sensation, Hayley Westenra is undoubtedly the youngest of the trio with a long list of achievements behind her name at just the age of 24. She has already achieved a career most people can only dream about – world famed soprano, classical cross over artist, songwriter and the youngest Unicef ambassador.
Over the past few years, the soprano has taken the world by storm with her first album release in 2003 at the tender age of 16. Titled Pure, her double platinum selling album, debuted internationally and was an instant hit rapidly becoming the fastest-selling album from a classical artiste, reaching the top-10 music charts in 11 countries.
This year, Hayley Westenra celebrates 10 years in the music industry with the release of her fifth studio album Paradiso, a collaboration with the legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone. This album has already sold millions of copies since its release in New Zealand two months ago.