Newspaper Kultura #29 (7286) 2-8 August 2001

Amazing Carreras. A Secret Visit to Moscow

Mikhail Golitsyn

Few people knew that shortly after Placido Domingo his colleague, the second participant of the legendary tenor trio, was going to appear in the capital. The two-day Moscow visit of the Spanish singer was neither wrapped in mystery, nor was it made public. Carreras' fans would have been puzzled by the purpose of his visit. The singer decided to take part in the gala concert dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Transsiberian main line. The Ministry of Transport, who invited the famous tenor, successfully used his patriotic sentiments. The point is that Carreras' compatriot Agustin de Betancourt was one of the founders of the Russian railroad business. He was invited by the czar Alexander I and stayed in our country for good. At the end of his glorious life he headed the Russian railway administration. For services to the state he was conferred an order of Alexander Nevski. Jose Carreras in a sense went his compatriot's path: in 1998 he was awarded a honorary doctor of the Russian Mendeleev Chemical Institute, and 2000 in Vienna Mikhail Gorbatshov presented him with a prize "for achievements in health protection".

His short stay in the summer Moscow included no press conferences or long walks with accompanying photographers. The program of the closed concert held last Saturday in the State Kremlin Palace would have surprised people used to seeing Carreras in the world's best opera houses. He shared the stage with Alla Pugatshova, Larissa Dolina, Muslim Magomayev, Tamara Sinyavskaya, Nikolai Karatshentsov and other Russian stars (Carreras pleased the audience with a few popular opera arias). However, the singer knows the rules of the game very well, since he often participates in this kind of anniversary actions that are always eclectic. The unexpected lightning visit of one of the busiest musicians reveals his liking for Russia, so apparently our country will more than once attract his attention.

Translation Maria Kozlova


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