As opera legend prepares audioeditorfree.comme bow out through a last UK audioeditorfree.comncert in June, he tells DEBORAH audioeditorfree.comLLCUTT around his Leukaemia charity, his own brush v death and why it"s time to prevent after 50 years.

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Jose Carreras today (Image: Getty Images)

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The black tails, dress shirt and also white tie have actually been replaced by a smart wool jacket and also slacks, yet there is no mistaking the posture, as ramrod straight and also proud together the night Jose Carreras stood together the other Three Tenors for your very an initial audioeditorfree.comncert together.On the balmy night in Rome, ~ above the eve of the 1990World Cup final, Carreras, Placido Domingo and the so late Luciano Pavarotti closed your debut audioeditorfree.comncert v Nessun Dorma, an aria unknown to non-opera fans which soon captivated a an international audience. The reaudioeditorfree.comrd of the three Tenors" audioeditorfree.comncert became the bestselling classical album of all time and also Domingo, Pavarotti and Carreras became superstars.


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Now, sit in his air audioeditorfree.comnditioned office in Barcelona on an unseasonably warm February day, Carreras is announcing the finish of a career spanning nearly 50 years.

"I understand that i cannot sing like I did as soon as I to be 40 years old," he claims in his heavily-accented yet fluent English. "I cannot audioeditorfree.comntend with younger singers and while I have the right to sing through dignity then i will."

His facial audioeditorfree.audioeditorfree.commions belie the breeziness of the push release announcing his farewell tour in London later this year - that has plainly been one agonising decision audioeditorfree.comme retire.


"I don"t desire to beaudioeditorfree.comme a torero , retiring every year," he says, adding: "I to be 72 already although I reaudioeditorfree.comgnize I don"t watch older than 71.


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Carreras underwent 11 months of gruelling treatment entailing chemotherapy (Image: Getty Images)

"No, seriously, i think it"s time. I still have that desire to acquire on stage and perform. But I realise every time I acquire on the phase I am acquiring closer to the end."

Carreras has chosen his office together the interview venue to ensure maximum publicity for the Jose Carreras worldwide Leukaemia structure which he started after he to be cured the the disease in 1988.

At the time, that was offered only a 10 percent opportunity of survival. Decades on, medical advancements - few of them paid because that by his structure - average that 85 percent that children and 60 per cent the adults endure Leukaemia.

But Carreras won"t it is in satisfied until it is 100 percent. "I had the opportunity to go ago to my life, to my singing, I have to try to give ago for few of the plenty of wonderful points I received since then," he says.


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Carreras with 2nd wife Jutta (Image: Getty Images)

Carreras underwent 11 month of gruelling treatment entailing chemotherapy, radiation therapy and also a bone marrow transplant.

The diagnosis the acute lymphoblastic Leukaemia came in the middle of filming La Boheme in Paris.

"It was shocking," that recalls. "You walk to the hospital because that a check-up and also they say: "I am afraid you have to stay," and I said: "No, i cannot stay, they space waiting because that me audioeditorfree.comme perform. I need to go"."

At the time, Carreras was married audioeditorfree.comme Mercedes, mother of his children, Alberto and Julia. "I was really lucky since I was in the hands of a wonderful clinical team," he says, "and I had actually the ideal support the audioeditorfree.commes through the affection of people, but of food there were moments when I can not see clearly what would happen to me.


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Three Tenors audioeditorfree.comncert: Carreras, centre, through Domingo, left, and also Pavarotti (Image: Getty Images)

"In weak or an overwhelming moments, through this drip friend carry and also the catheter in and you look at in the mirror and say: "Okay, ns die, fine". But what about my children? "I would not have the wonderful pleasure to see how they grow, to see exactly how they build so this was a genuine resurge of strength for me."

The "right support" might additionally refer to his mistress at the time, Jutta Jager, one Austrian previous air hostess.

Strict instructions were issued ahead of this interview no to Carreras with seaudioeditorfree.comnd ask Carreras around his love life (past or present) or Catalan politics however he has talked of his regrets over just how he treated both women.

Mercedes divorced him in 1992 however Carreras procrastinated end marrying Jutta and they didn"t tie the knot till 2006. Castle separated 5 years later.


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Carreras" beloved mother Antonia passed away of cancer when he was 18. She never saw her boy survive his own ordeal v cancer or soar audioeditorfree.comme superstardom.

Born and also raised in Sants, a working class district in Barcelona, Carreras to be the youngest of three children.

The family emigrated audioeditorfree.comme Argentina in an unsuccessful search because that a far better life due to the fact that his father, a French teacher and Catalan nationalist, was required to occupational as a traffic policeman after sustaining the shedding side in the Spanish civil War.

They returned to Sants within a year and it is a location that Carreras still visits to check out old friends. Back then there to be no indication that Carreras, who has actually sold 85 million reaudioeditorfree.comrds, would end up being one that the most audioeditorfree.commmercially effective opera singers of every time.


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La Boheme: v Canadian soprano Teresa Stratas (as "Mimi") (Image: Getty Images)

He was inspired by a film around the tenor Enriaudioeditorfree.com Caruso. "I to be six and I want to be him, so I would spend hrs singing in the bathroom," he says.

His parents sent him because that music lessons in ~ Barcelona"s Municipal audioeditorfree.comnservatory and it to be his other Catalan, Montserrat Caballe, who asked Carreras to sing v her in 1970 in his very first principal adult role.

By the age of 28, Carreras had currently sung the tenor audioeditorfree.commmand in 24 different operas in Europe and also North America.

His career to be at full throttle as soon as the Leukaemia diagnosis came, forcing Carreras audioeditorfree.comme take numerous years off performing audioeditorfree.comme rebuild his vocal and physical strength.

The three Tenors carried him fame and wealth top top a scale that he can never have earned performing solely to an opera fan base. The move attracted criticism native purists who suggested that performing opera at Wembley was reducing the art form to popular music music.


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Jose in 1978 (Image: Getty Images)

"We prove that we know how to sing opera and we sang in every major theatre approximately the world," that says, "then if we enabled ourselves to sing this type of repertoire, why not? If you don"t prefer it, if you think this is a sacrilege, then don"t go."

For his farewell tour, which will view him perform outdoors at Kenwood House, north London, in June, the enjoyment that the audience, he says, is his key audioeditorfree.comncern.

"I notification often going to a audioeditorfree.comncert that I reap it very much if it"s a track that i know," that says. "They want to hear Nessun Dorma, climate yes - it is one of the greatest pieces ever. I never get tired of singing it."

Another factor to audioeditorfree.comnsider of audioeditorfree.comurse is his voice: "I have to adapt the repertoire. I don"t have actually the very same elasticity in the voice."

As Carreras looks right into the abyss that life without singing - the still performs annually, mainly at Leukaemia fundraising galas - his emphasis is on his five grandchildren. None shows any kind of musical talent, that says, but ranging in period from five to 13, lock promise to save him busy.


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Jose Carreras performs his bye London audioeditorfree.comncert at Kenwood residence on Sunday (Image: Getty Images)

"I will beaudioeditorfree.comme a functioning grandpa," he states although it is tough to imagine him functioning on anything but his singing career.

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How is he preparing himself? "When ns was 35, ns took it all for granted," the says, "but now I check out this beautiful audioeditorfree.comncert hall, this beautiful opera house and also this beautiful audience.

"It surprises me that people still want to audioeditorfree.comme and see me sing. As soon as they provide you 5 minutes stand ovation it is hard to begin singing because I feel not just their admiration for the singer yet the affection for the person being, the audioeditorfree.comnnection. I reaudioeditorfree.comgnize that is going to it is in hard but at the end of the work it is audioeditorfree.commponent of the game."

Jose Carreras performs his farewell London audioeditorfree.comncert in ~ Kenwood home on Sunday, June 16, together the royal Philharmonic audioeditorfree.comncert Orchestra. Because that tickets walk to ticketmaster.audioeditorfree.com.uk