José Carreras occupies a privileged position in the music world. Born in Barcelona, he studied music in his hometown. In 1970 he started his professional career in the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona with Nabucco and Lucrezia Borgia.
His meteoric musical career resulted in early debuts at the world's most prestigious opera theatres and festivals, including the Teatro alla Scala of Milan 'Un Ballo in Maschera', 1975; the New York Metropolitan Opera House 'Tosca', 1974; San Francisco Opera 'La Bohème', 1973; the Vienna Staatsoper 'Rigoletto', 1974; London's Royal Opera House 'La Traviata', 1974; The Opera of Munich 'Tosca', 1974; Chicago's Lyric Opera 'Un Ballo in Maschera', 1976; and the Festivals of Salzburg 'Don Carlo', 1976; Aix en Provence 'Roberto Devereux', 1977; Edinburgh Verdi's Requiem, 1982; and Verona 'Carmen', 1984.
José Carreras has collaborated with the most renowned orchestral conductors, including Herbert von Karajan (an artistic and personal relationship, which lasted over twelve years and included performances in Salzburg, Berlin and Vienna), Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Chailly, Colin Davis, Giuseppe Sinopoli, James Levine, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Bernstein and Zubin Mehta, and with pre-eminent stage directors such as Franco Zeffirelli, Jean Pierre Ponnelle, Giorgio Strehler, Luigi Comencini and Harold Prince.
His repertoire includes over sixty operas, of which the following stand out: 'Andrea Chenier', 'La Bohème', 'Tosca', 'Werther', 'Don Carlo', 'Carmen', 'La Forza del Destino', 'I Pagliacci', 'L'Elisir D'Amore' and 'Un Ballo in Maschera'.
Together with his opera activities, he has given frequent recitals in the world's most famous halls. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Avery Fisher Hall of New York; the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall in London; the Salle Pleyel in Paris, at the Musikverein and Konzerthaus of Vienna, the Berlin Philharmonie, Suntory Hall and the NHK Hall in Tokyo, the Grosses Festspielhaus of Salzburg, the Philharmonie and Hercules Saal of Munich, the Palau de la Música of Barcelona, the Teatro Real of Madrid and the Accademia Santa Cecilia of Rome. His wide concert repertoire includes over 600 titles of the most diverse styles ranging from the baroque to contemporary music.
His extensive discography includes over 150 recordings, notably 50 complete operas, oratorios, popular and classical recitals. He has been awarded many Gold and Platinum Discs worldwide.
José Carreras has performed the leading role in several operatic films for Television, Cinema and Video, including 'La Bohème', 'I Lombardi', 'Andrea Chenier', 'Turandot', 'Carmen', Verdi's Requiem, 'Don Carlo', 'La Forza del Destino', 'Stiffelio', 'Fedora' and 'Jerusalem'.
Among the numerous national and international prizes and distinctions which have been bestowed upon José Carreras are an Emmy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences of the United States; the Grand Prix du Disque from the Academy of Paris; the Luigi Illica Prize; a 1991 Grammy Award; the Sir Lawrence Olivier Award for his performance in 'Stiffelio' at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Kammersänger and Lifetime Honorary Member of the Vienna Staatsoper; Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London; he received the Gold Medal of the New York Spanish Institute; the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna; the Gold Medal of Fine Arts bestowed by His Majesty the King of Spain; the Gold Medal of the City of Barcelona; the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalunya; Prince of Asturias Award 1991; Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres et Chevalier dans l'Ordre de la Légion d'Honneur de la République Française; Gran Croce di Cavaliere and Grand Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana; Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO and the Albert Schweitzer Music Award 1996.
Mr Carreras has also been awarded the title Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Barcelona, the Universities of Loughborough and Sheffield in the UK and the University of Mendeleyev of Moscow. He is an Honorary Member of the European Society for Medicine, Honorary Patron of the European Society for Medical Oncology and Honorary Member of the Leukaemia Support Group. He has been awarded the Gold Medal of the Catalan Transplant Society, the Diamond Tulip Award of the Stichting Day by the Day Foundation of the Netherlands, the Honour Medal of the Bavarian Government and the St. Boniface General Hospital Research Foundation 1996 International Award. Furthermore he is Honorary President of the Julian Gayarre International Singing Competition and Honorary President of the London Arts Orchestra.
José Carreras portrayed Julian Gayarre in the motion picture 'Romanza Final'. In 1993 his video 'A life story', nominated in Hollywood, was awarded an International Emmy Award.
In 1992 Mr. Carreras was engaged as Music Director of the memorable Olympic Games held in Barcelona.
In 1990 in Rome and 1994 in Los Angeles, with his colleagues Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, he performed two extraordinary concerts watched by worldwide audiences of over two billion, which created an unprecedented impact in the world of opera.