Jose Carreras announces retirement from opera

Fri May 8, 2009 5:08pm EDT
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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish opera singer Jose Carreras, one of the famed "Three Tenors" along with Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, announced his retirement from opera in a newspaper interview published on Friday.

Carreras, 62, who thrived as a performer after surviving leukemia, told the British newspaper The Times that he could no longer withstand the rigors of performing principal roles, unamplified, to opera houses.

"If I can do concert recitals, adapting the repertoire to my needs, then no problem, that's good enough," Carreras told The Times. "But with operas, unless the right circumstances come up, my career is done."

In the early 1990s, Carreras formed "The Three Tenors" with fellow Spaniard Domingo and Italy's Pavarotti. Their recordings and concert tours opened up opera to a larger audience and were a huge commercial success.

Pavarotti died in 2007 after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. With Carreras's retirement, Domingo is the sole opera performer left in the original trio, whose first performance was for soccer's World Cup in Italy in 1990.

"We were, without being presumptuous, the most popular tenors of the day. We did (Italia 90) in a very genuine and spontaneous way. We thought, let's get together. We were all football fans," Carreras said in the interview.

The tenor said his diagnosis of leukemia in 1987 was very difficult to handle.

"I have been very lucky to overcome this very serious disease with not many chances to survive. I remember this every day. The help from above is very important," he said.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, translation by Mary Milliken)

<p>Spanish tenor Jose Carreras performs during the opening ceremony in the opera house at the traditional opera ball in Vienna January 31, 2008. REUTERS/Hans Klaus Techt/Pool</p>