Petersburg News #38 (154) September 2000

Star Diary

Jose Carreras could have become a chemist, but fortune smiled on music lovers

Two weeks before the concert at the Oktyabrsky Big Concert Hall there were no tickets left, although they cost up to 2000 rubles. As organizers of the single concert in St. Petersburg say, with all good forecasts they did not expect anything of the kind. Holder of the order of Art and Literature, Legion of Honour of the French Republic, good will ambassador of UNESCO, Kammersaenger of the Vienna Staatsoper, honorary member of the London Royal Music Academy, doctor honoris causa of the Moscow Chemical Mendeleev Institute. All these titles belong to a man whose name evokes enthusiasm all over the world. People admire both the talent and the extraordinary willpower of the great singer.

Girls fall down in a faint

It started when the seven-year-old Jose saw The Great Caruso and became addicted to singing. He entered a music school, and at 11 he made his debut on the stage of Barcelona's Gran Teatro del Liceo in De Falla's El retablo de Maese Pedro. It seemed that his next stop would be conservatory, but the family council decided that he should support family business - beauty salon. So Jose almost became a chemist having entered the appropriate faculty of the university. For some time he managed to combine singing with study of natural sciences, but later he decided in favour of music. Jose proved to his parents that he was right by the brilliant performance in Norma with the famous Montserrat Caballe. Carreras' vast repertoire includes over 60 operas and diverse music works: classical pieces, folk songs and popular hits, musicals. The audience rages when he sings the legendary Granada, Dicitencello vuje or My Way from Frank Sinatra's legacy. Some especially emotional women even faint away, they say.

From the next world Jose Carreras is a national hero in Spain, his homeland. There is a memorial plaque on the house at 1 Radio Galileo street in Barcelona where he was born 52 years ago. In such a way the townspeople expressed adoration for their favorite singer who literally returned "from the next world". On July 16, 1987 Carreras learned that he had leukemia. Music lovers from all continents besieged the specialized clinic in America where Carreras was taking a course of treatment. The singer did the impossible: he conquered the fatal illness. After that Jose Carreras created the International Leukemia Foundation and invited leading lights in medicine from all over the world for cooperation. The comeback of the great singer took place in Merida under the vaults of an ancient Roman amphitheater in Cherubini's Medea. His partners were the great Montserrat Caballe and Elena Obraztsova. In 1990 the Three Tenors were born - an unusual trio of world opera stars. Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo sang together at the closing of the World Soccer Championship.

Today Jose Carreras is in excellent artistic form and full of plans. His visit in Petersburg is a splendid present for us. The Petersburg News will soon tell you about the details of this visit.

Nikolai Peshkov

Translation Maria Kozlova

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