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Carreras, José (Maria)

barcelona opera debut concert

celebrated Spanish tenor; b. Barcelona, Dec. 5, 1946. He studied with Jaime Puig at the Barcelona Cons, before completing his training with Juan Ruax. In 1970 he made his operatic debut as Flavio in Norma in Barcelona, and later that year appeared as Gennaro opposite Caballé‘s Lucrezia Borgia. In 1971 he won the Verdi Competition in Parma, where he made his Italian debut as Rodolfo. He also made his first appearance in London that year singing Leicester in a concert performance of Maria Stuarda . On March 15, 1972, he made his U.S. debut as Pinkerton at the N.Y.C. Opera, where he remained on the roster until 1975. In 1973 he sang for the first time at the San Francisco Opera as Rodolfo. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. on Nov. 18, 1974, as Cavaradossi, and subsequently returned there regularly. In 1975 he sang for the first time at Milan’s La Scala as Riccardo. In 1976 he made his first appearances at the Salzburg Festival (as Don Carlos) and at the Chicago Lyric Opera (as Riccardo). In addition to his engagements with principal opera houses of the world, Carreras pursued a notably successful career as a concert artist. However, in 1987 he was stricken with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Following exhaustive medical treatment, he was able to resume his career in 1988 when he appeared at a special Barcelona outdoor concert before an audience of 150, 000 admirers. That same year he founded the José Carreras Leukemia Foundation in Barcelona. In 1989 he appeared in recitals in Seattle and N.Y., and also returned to the operatic stage as Jason in Cherubini’s Medea in Marida, Spain. On Sept. 24, 1989, he created the title role in Balada’s Cristóbal Colón in Barcelona. On July 7, 1990, he appeared in a spectacular concert with fellow tenors Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti in Rome, with Zubin Mehta conducting. The event was telecast live to the world and subsequently became a best-selling video and compact disc. The “three tenors’ 7 subsequently staged such extravaganzas throughout the world. In 1998 he sang Wolf-Ferrari’s Sly in Zurich, a role he reprised at the Washington (D.C.) Opera in 1999 in his first U.S. stage appearance in 12 years. His autobiography was publ. as Singen mit der Seele (Munich, 1989; Eng. tr., 1991, as Singing from the Soul) . The title aptly describes his approach not only to singing but to living the life of one of the world’s favorite tenors.

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