He has been singing for more than half a century and for now, as long as his tenor voice endures, Josep Carreras will continue to offer lyrical concerts all over the world. The next August 3rd will celebrate the 75 years singing in the festival of pearl with the croatian soprano Martina Zadro and the Liceu Symphony Orchestra directed by David Gimenez, his nephew, who has been accompanying him for a long time and knows his voice perfectly. The performance will feature some “surprise” collaboration, as explained by Carreras at a meeting with the press organized at the Institut Contra la Leucèmia that bears his name. “It will be a friendly concert where I will not go out to suffer but to enjoy. Let no one expect passages from ‘Guilermo Tell’ or ‘Andrea Chénier’. I will offer a friendly repertoire with a bit of opera, Catalan and Neapolitan song”, he explained, elegantly dressed, with a scarf around his neck that gave him a dandy air. “I like to sing on this type of summer date, with another type of public.
“I never thought I would continue singing at 75 years old,” confesses the acclaimed singer when this month marks the 35th anniversary of his admission to the Hospital Clínic to deal with leukemia, before being transferred to Seattle (USA) where at that time Many more bone marrow transplants were performed than in Barcelona.
22 years absent
It has been 22 years since Carreras has been a protagonist in Peralada. His last performance was in 2000 in a concert where Jaume Aragall and Isabel Rey also participated with the Vallès Symphony Orchestra. But much earlier, in 1988, Carreras offered his first paid concert at the Empordà festival after overcoming that leukemia that almost ended his life. That recital with the pianist Vicenzo Scalera, before an audience of more than 2,500 people, including Queen Sofía and Lady Di, confirmed the full recovery of the tenor.
Later, in 1990 after, encouraged by his friends Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, celebrated his return to the international stage in style with a concert at the baths of Caracalla, in Rome, with Zubin Mehta to the baton, coinciding with the eve of the World Cup final in Italy. Such was the success that they repeated the formula in other places. The recording of the first album of The three Tenors It won the Grammy for best classical vocal performance and was the Guinness record for best-selling classical music album in history. “The chemistry between us made Los Tres Tenores something out of the ordinary,” admits Carreras, who is planning a Pavarotti tribute concert with Domingo in Tokyo next January.
Goodbye at Arc de Triomf
It is clear to him that the day he decides to leave the stage, he will say goodbye with a concert at the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, in the center of his city, on the same stage where he sang again after overcoming leukemia. What he does not specify is when. “I still have the instrument in good enough condition to display it in public,” she says.
“I don’t need a ‘coach’ to know what I have to do or to see how my B flat is doing”
The secret to maintaining your tenor voice well is a combination of passion and discipline. “I don’t need a ‘coach’ to know what I have to do or to see how my B-flat is doing. If after 52 years I don’t know my voice…”, he jokes. But obviously everything changes over time. “The color of the voice is a mystery. I cannot sing with the elasticity of when I was 30 years old, but I can continue singing as a tenor. And I will do it as long as I enjoy it. Every time I go on stage I think: you have been able to do it again. Thank you a lot of affection and enthusiasm from the public”.
He also thanks the efforts of all those who have helped him raise the projects of the Josep Carreras Foundation against leukemia. “My career is my life. Singing is a calling. I’m happy when I step on stage and the sound of the orchestra gives you an adrenaline rush,” he acknowledges. “The Foundation is something else. The satisfaction of seeing how, thanks to therapies, a 7, 8 or 10-year-old patient overcomes the disease is something that no great theater, production or orchestra director will ever give you.”