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José Maria Carreras.

Born Barcelona, 5 December 1946. 

Spanish tenor.

José Carreras is renowned as one of the 'Three Tenors' (the others being Pavarotti and Domingo) who gave a concert in Rome at the Baths of Caracalla at Italia '90, the football World Cup.   

Although the youngest of the three,  and arguably the one with the most beautiful voice,  his operatic career had been curtailed through contracting leukaemia.  The survival of Carreras was in itself seen as a wonderful event, with that concert a reflection of the gratitude felt by his colleagues.  He was able to resume his singing career for many years, though the voice was, inevitably, much reduced.

He studied in Barcelona under Jaime Francesco Puig.  As a treble (aged 10) he made his debut as Trujaman in Falla's Retable de Maese Pedro (usually known in English as Master Peter's Puppet Show).  He won the Verdi competition at Busseto in 1971.

His professional debut as a tenor was in 1970 at the Liceu in Barcelona (Flavio in Norma), followed by roles such as Ismaele Nabucco and Gennaro Lucrezia Borgia.  Carreras received help and guidance from his fellow-Catalan, the soprano Montserrat Caballé, appearing with her frequently in those early years.

His UK debut was in London at Drury Lane  in 1971 as Leicester in a concert performance of Maria Stuarda (with Caballé as Maria).  His first appearance at Covent Garden was in 1974 and he returned regularly in roles by Donizetti (Nemorino);  Verdi (Oronte I Lombardi,  Rodolfo Luisa Miller,  Alfredo,  Don Carlos); Puccini (Rodolfo,  Cavaradossi,  Pinkerton) and Massenet ( Werther).

His first appearance in the USA was in 1972 (New York City Opera as Edgardo Lucia di Lammermoor),  San Francisco the following year (Rodolfo) before going to the Met in 1974 (Cavaradossi) then Dallas and other cities.   His La Scala debut came in 1975 (Gustavus), one of his most important roles being Gabriele Adorno in the famous Giorgio Strehler production of Simon Boccanegra.  He appeared at Salzburg with Karajan in some heavier roles, including Don José, Don Carlos and Radamès.


The extensive list of Carreras recordings includes Rossini (ElisabettaBarbiere di SivigliaOtello);  Donizetti (L'elisir d'amore,  Lucia di Lammermoor,  Poliuto);   Verdi (Un giorno di regno,  I due Foscari,  Il corsaro,  Macbeth,  La battaglia di Legnano,  Stiffelio Il trovatore,  Simon Boccanegra,  Un ballo in maschera,  La forza del destino,  Don Carlos,  Aïda);  Bizet (Carmen);  Leoncavallo (Pagliacci);  Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana);  Puccini (La bohème, Tosca) and  Strauss (Der Rosenkavalier).

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