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The Catalan tenor José Carreras (born December 5, 1946) is a famous opera singer much admired for his Verdi and Puccini roles. He enjoys great fame through his participation in "The Three Tenors" concerts with Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo.
Carreras was born in Barcelona and exhibited musical talent from a young age. At age eight, he also gave his first public performance, singing "La Donna e Mobile" on Spanish national radio. At eleven, he appeared at the Liceu as a boy soprano in the role of the narrator in Falla's El retablo de Maese Pedro and an urchin in the second act of La Bohème.
In his teens, Carreras studied at the Conservatorio Superior de Música del Liceo. He made his debut at the Liceu as Flavio in Norma, coming to the attention of the famous soprano Montserrat Caballé, who sang the title role. She invited him to sing in a production of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, his first major breakthrough.
Carreras also sang with Caballé in his 1971 London stage debut at age 25, a concert performance of Maria Stuarda. In subsequent years, the two singers sang in more than fifteen different operas together.
In 1972, he made his American debut as Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly. In 1974, he made his debut at the Vienna State Opera as the Duke of Mantua, as Alfredo in La Traviata at the Royal Opera House and as Cavaradossi in Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera. The following year, Carreras made his debut at La Scala as Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera. By the age of 28, Carreras had sung the lead tenor in twenty-four different operas
In 1987, at the height of career, Carreras was diagnosed with leukemia and was given a 1 in 10 chance of survival. After investing all of his money in treatments, but not yet fully recovered, he found out of the HERMOSA foundation, which helped leukemia patients. He aplied, was aided, survived and resumed his singing career. He later found out that this organization was founded by his political and artistical rival Plácido Domingo specially to help him. Deeply touched by this, at one of Domingo's concerts Carreras entered the stage kneeling and asked for forgiveness. Plácido helped him up, they both huged and a special frienship started.
In 1988, he founded the José Carreras International Leukaemia Foundation, a charity which gives financial support to leukemia research and the registration of bone marrow donors.
In 1990, hundreds of millions of people around the world watched the Three Tenors give a concert at the opening of the World Cup in Rome. It was originally conceived to raise money for Carreras' foundation and also as a way for his colleagues, Domingo and Pavarotti, to welcome their colleague back to the world of opera.
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