AMONG THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TENORS OF THE WORLD, JOSÉ CARRERAS SAID A MEANINGFUL FAREWELL TO THE OPERA LOVERS OF ISTANBUL BY GIVING HIS JUBILEE CONCERT IN ISTANBUL WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE FINAL WORLD TOUR.
The legendary name of the Three Tenors, José Carreras came to Turkey for the last time within the scope of the Final World Tour. Soprano Simge Büyükedes and Maestro David Giménez accompanied the legendary tenor during the concert that was organized by Piu Entertainment. The great talent, who began singing at the age of 6 and entered the conservatory at the age of 8, is 71 years old and his last world tour grabbed large interest.
When did opera grab your attention for the first time?
Opera grabbed my attention after watching American tenor Mario Lanza’s film titled “The Great Caruso.”
When did you first realize that you wanted to become an opera singer?
After watching the film, I thought I should definitely become a tenor. That is why I think that I was born to sing.
What was the hardest part of the opera education for you?
The education was not hard at all because I love this art more than anything. I fought with myself to become better. I did it.
You sang along with Leyla Gencer at the Lucresse Borgia; how was sharing the same stage with her?
I can tell that she was a great friend and a wonderful singer. She was a real diva literally. I am glad to see that her legend continues.
Who were your unforgettable partners on the stage?
I had the chance to sing along with the best of my colleagues with the best of orchestras conducted by significant maestros. If I had to give you a name, I would say that Maestro Herbert von Karajan was the most impressive among them. It was so different to sing in a concert conducted by him. It was a very special ambience; it was an otherworldly experience. He was a genius.
The Three Tenors that you established with Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti had made a tremendous impact around the world; what do you think was the secret of your success?
The Three Tenors project was of course a great stage partnership. This was definitely one of the most important segments of my life and wonderful times. It was also forceful but we had great time together. In my opinion, the biggest factor in the success of this project was the harmony of our voices, although our characters were so different from each other. We all had respectful careers before we came together for this project.
How do you feel after a successful concert?
Happy as usual and I still feel exciting and nervous before a performance.
How do you see yourself as an opera singer?
I am a singer who tries to add meaning to every word. This is why I love nocturnes and passionate music.
Which operas do you like to sing the best?
It is hard to answer to this question; however, if I have to, I would say “La Bohème” and “Carmen”. Finally, I can say that “El Juez” the new opera that I performed in St. Petersburg and last year in Vienna.
What did your fans listen to during your Istanbul concert?
We presented our new program “A Life in Music” to the Turkish audience that was organized for the final world tour. In this program, opera, operetta, and classic works took place just as it was in the Three Tenor project.
You came to Turkey before, what was your impression on Turkey?
I have very nice memories and I am so lucky that I took the stage not only in İstanbul but in many other great locations of Turkey and at open air concerts. The audiences are so warm and involved and have great knowledge of music.
Who was your favorite opera singer when you were a student?
This is so clear, I was a huge admirer of great Italian tenor Giuseppedi Stefano.
Are there any opera singers that you listen to nowadays?
If I have to name a few of them, I’d say that Anna Netrebko, Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Florez are wonderful new generation singers.
What are the rules to become a successful opera singer?
This is also very clear to me; except being talented, working hard with discipline.
Can you tell us an unforgettable memory of yours at the stage?
I was welcomed wonderfully at my first performance at La Scala in Milano. My performance in La Boheme conducted by Karajan in Vienna was strongly applauded for 45 minutes. My first comeback concert after my recovery following serious health problems and the Three Tenor concerts are unforgettable memories or mine.
You have overcome your health issues; did music help you during the hardest experience of your life?
Music has definitely a healing effect and it can help overcoming difficult times. For instance, when I was at the hospital being treated for leukemia, there was one piece that gave me strength and it was the piano concerto of Rachmaninov.