Inspiring #Ode2Joy interpretation by Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja premiered at Berlin Summit

The Hague / Berlin, 22 June 2018 – The renowned Maltese-born tenor Joseph Calleja shared his own inspiring contribution of Europe’s “Ode to Joy” during the European Cultural Heritage Summit taking place in Berlin on 18-24 June. This unusual version sung in German and then in Maltese, the ‘Innu l-Ferh’, was recorded in the historic Church of Our Lady of Victories in Valletta. The video was premiered today during the European Policy Debate “Sharing Heritage – Sharing Values” to the delight of the high level audience discussing the future role of cultural heritage in Europe.

Ode to Joy – Malta – June 2018 .m4v from Europa Nostra on Vimeo.

This is the first time Schiller’s verses are sung in the Maltese language, one of the 24 official languages of the European Union and the only one with Semitic roots. Mr Calleja was inspired to sing the ‘Innu l-Ferh’ in Maltese as a response to the #Ode2Joy Challenge, which was launched by Europa Nostra and its President Maestro Plácido Domingo. This initiative celebrates Europe and our shared heritage on the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Joseph Calleja stated: “Music, alongside mathematics, is a universal language and a language that brings us all together. Initiatives such as the #Ode2joy Challenge challenge us all European cousins in the right way and brings us together as only music can.”

Maestro Plácido Domingo reacted to Calleja’s performance: “I am thrilled that Joseph Calleja, whose impressive career I have been so pleased to follow, has chosen to bring Europe his own version of the inspiring Ode to Joy from his country of birth.  As President of Europa Nostra, I wish to convey all our thanks for this very special gift which he brought us from Valletta, this year’s European Capital of Culture”

The “Ode to Joy” was translated into Maltese by Europa Nostra Council Member Dr. John Vassallo, former Ambassador for Malta to the European Union. The flagship restoration of the historic Church of Our Lady of Victories was recently completed by Europa Nostra’s member organisation, Din l-Art Helwa (National Trust of Malta).


#Ode2Joy Challenge

On the occasion of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, Europa Nostra and its President Maestro Plácido Domingo have invited the citizens of Europe to contribute to the #Ode2Joy Challenge. This social media participatory initiative kicked-off on 9 May 2018 – Europe Day. Since then, over 100 reinterpretations from over 25 countries across Europe and beyond of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” have been filmed at heritage sites and uploaded online. The challenge will continue until 9 May 2019! For more information on how to contribute and see the videos, please visit:


DIN l-ART HELWA                  
Simone Mizzi, Vice-President                                                

Joana Pinheiro, Communications Coordinator, +31 6 34 36 59 85

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