2 minute read

José Carreras: 1946—: Opera Singer

Three Tenors Became Popular Phenomenon

The Three Tenors reunited in 1994 to perform at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles after that year's World Cup, and subsequent appearances and recordings sustained their momentum. They became household names in the United States, with a popularity that extended well beyond the usual reach of opera and classical music. Carreras capitalized on their success with a 1991 autobiography, which appeared in English as Singing from My Soul, and with a renewed series of crossover albums that included My Romance, Pure Passion, and Around the World, a selection of international songs.

Nor did Carreras neglect the traditional opera repertory. Among his operatic appearances in the 1990s were those he made in Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's opera Sly in Zurich in 1998 and at the Washington (D.C.) Opera in 1999. Some criticized Carreras for his crossover activities, but the singer pointed out to Billboard that he was following time-honored precedents. "I believe in this music, just as much as I believe in Mozart or Verdi or Puccini," he said. "And we have examples of the past, like Enrico Caruso or John McCormack or Beniamino Gigli or, more recently, Giuseppe di Stefano. They all sang the light music of their time." Carreras argued that his recordings could attract new audiences to opera—and indeed that is something he has already accomplished over the course of his superb career.

Selected discography

Ave Maria, Philips, 1984.

Love is José Carreras, Philips, 1984.

You Belong to My Heart, Philips, 1984.

West Side Story (cast included Kiri Te Kanawa), Deutsche Grammophon, 1985.

Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: The Three Tenors in Concert, London, 1990.

From the Official Barcelona Olympic Games (with Monterrat Caballé and Plácido Domingo), RCA, 1992.

Zarzuelas, Erato, 1993.

Merry Christmas, CBS, 1995.

Celebration of Christmas, Elektra/Asylum, 1996.

Passion, Elektra/Asylum, 1996.

My Romance, Elektra/Asylum, 1997.

Caresses, B.C.I., 1998.

The Best of José Carreras, Erato, 1998.

A Tribute to Operetta: A Franz Lehar Gala, Poly-gram, 1999.

Pure Passion, Erato, 1999.

Love Songs from Spain, E2, 2000.

Around the World, Warner Classics, 2002.


Appeared on numerous recordings of operas by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, and others.



Contemporary Musicians, Volume 34, Gale, 2002.

International Dictionary of Opera, 2 vols., St. James, 1993.

Slonimsky, Nicolas, ed. emeritus, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, centennial ed., Schirmer Books, 2001.


Billboard, February 8, 1992, p. 10; October 1, 1994, p. 1.

Opera News, January 2002.

UNESCO Courier, February 1993, p. 4.


"Jose Carreras," All Classical Guide, http://www.allclassical.com (March 28, 2003).

—James M. Manheim

Additional topics

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