Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) Biography » José Carreras: 1946—: Opera Singer Biography - Appeared In Boy Soprano Role, Diagnosed With Leukemia, Three Tenors Became Popular Phenomenon

José Carreras: 1946—: Opera Singer - Diagnosed With Leukemia

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In the mid-1980s some observers began to notice that Carreras was showing fatigue, both vocally and in his overall demeanor. At first his problems were chalked up to his grueling schedule, but on July 15, 1987, Carreras was diagnosed with acute lymphocitic leukemia and given a one-in-ten chance of survival. The singer underwent a year of chemotherapy and bone marrow surgery, and even after these treatments were successful, many observers doubted that he would ever return to his previous vocal level. A crowd of 150,000 turned out to hear Carreras return to the stage in Barcelona in July of 1988, a concert the singer described as his second debut. "It was the most incredible, the most touching moment in my life," he told Billboard. His first few concerts that summer put an end to any doubts about his voice, which was darkened but undiminished.

One positive outcome of Carreras's ordeal was that top tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo, previously considered Carreras's rivals, became his friends. He told the UNESCO Courier, "When it was time for them to leave after paying me a visit, one of them would say 'Bon courage, champ!' and the other 'José, you've got to pull through, otherwise there won't be anyone left for me to match myself with.'" In 1989 Carreras began devoting time to a foundation he created to support anti-leukemia efforts, and he rein-vigorated his career, giving two American concerts and returning to the operatic stage in Mérida, Spain.

The following year, Carreras's friendship with Domingo and Pavarotti bore new artistic and commercial fruit. At Carreras's suggestion, the three joined together for a televised concert in Rome, Italy, to benefit his Josep Carreras International Leukemia Foundation. The concert took place on July 7, 1990, at the end of the World Cup soccer competition, one of the most-watched sporting events on the planet, and it drew a live audience of 6,000, as well as a television audience estimated at between one and one-and-a-half billion. The album, Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: The Three Tenors in Concert, sold well over ten million copies and became the best-selling classical album of all time.


José Carreras: 1946—: Opera Singer - Three Tenors Became Popular Phenomenon [next] [back] José Carreras: 1946—: Opera Singer - Appeared In Boy Soprano Role

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