Stamp of the Month: December 2021

Austria 23.2.2004
José Carreras

The Catalan opera singer Josep Maria Carreras i Coll (Spanish form: José Carreras) was born on December 5, 1946 in Barcelona. He will celebrate his 75th birthday in December 2021.
In 1963 Carreras broke off his chemistry studies and began to study singing at the Conservatori Superior de Música in Barcelona. In 1970 he made his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu there in Verdi’s „Nabucco“.
After winning the Verdi competition in Busseto, he received an engagement at the Madrid Opera in 1971 and made his debut with Montserrat Caballé in London in Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda” that same year. From 1972, numerous guest appearances took him to the opera houses in New York, Buenos Aires, Chicago, London, Vienna and Milan. After his international breakthrough as a lyric tenor, other invitations followed, including to Salzburg, Hamburg, Munich, Brussels, Tokyo and San Francisco. Since appearing in the 1990 Football World Cup, he has formed the vocal trio “The Three Tenors” with Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.
In May 2009 Carreras announced his retirement from the opera stage, but continued to give concerts and celebrated a triumphant comeback on the opera stage in Bilbao in 2014 with the world premiere of Christian Kolonovits’ opera “El Juez”. José Carreras, one of the outstanding tenors of the second half of the 20th century, celebrated his departure from the Vienna State Opera at a gala in September 2021.
The video shows José Carreras with Cavaradossi’s aria “E lucevan le stelle” from Puccini’s opera “Tosca”. The recording was made at a concert of the “Three Tenors” on July 16, 1994 in Los Angeles. Zubin Mehta conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the L.A. Music Center Opera Chorus.

At the height of his career, Carreras fell ill with leukemia in 1987. Despite a bad prognosis, he was able to resume his singing career after a bone marrow transplant, which was hardly widespread at the time. Out of gratitude for the medical help, he founded the José Carreras Leukemia Foundation in 1988, for which he has raised over 200 million euros with benefit galas over the past twenty years.