x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

We talk to the charming Spanish tenor José Carreras ahead of his show at the du Arena on Friday.

Opera star Jose Careera at an event at Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Opera star Jose Careera at an event at Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Your du Arena performance tomorrow has you teaming up once again with Katherine Jenkins. What’s it like performing with the British soprano?

We performed near Manchester in September last year and we had a wonderful artistic cooperation and I am happy to perform with her again. Also, she is just a wonderful person. So I am always happy to share the stage with her.

Your Abu Dhabi repertoire leans heavily towards Neapolitan songs. Why did you choose such a selection?

This kind of repertoire is what I always wanted to sing. It also forms the legacy of some of the most important tenors of the past. People like (Giuseppe) Di Stefano and (Enrico) Caruso, all these great artists sang Neapolitan songs and a lighter repertoire. They enjoyed it and most importantly the audience enjoyed it, too, which is all that matters.

Speaking about Enrico Caruso, is it true that his 1951 biopic The Great Caruso first inspired you to become a singer?

This is true. The actor playing him was an American singer called Mario Lanza and he was a very glamorous and charismatic guy, and of course he had a beautiful voice. While Lanza was more of a “Hollywood product” – and I say that in brackets because he worked more in movies than in opera houses – his performance in that film was a great inspiration for me.

What is more important to you: technique or showmanship?

In my opinion, technique is the most fundamental aspect for the artiste. But technique has to be at the service of the interpretation. The most important thing is to try to transmit emotions and feelings to the audience. If you have a good technique it can make your job of delivering those emotions better.

Looking back after all these years, are you surprised by the The Three Tenors phenomenon?

I will not say that I am surprised. I remember we (Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti) decided to sing one concert together and it suddenly became a big thing. After the successful recordings and television audiences, we decided to continue performing concerts together. But we started performing together in 1990 and the last concert was in 2004, and in these 14 years we only did 31 concerts. So it wasn’t like it was performing every week. We had a wonderful chemistry both artistically and personally and this kind of relationship came across well, and I think this is why the audiences loved it.

You are still performing nearly 60 dates a year. What are your forthcoming projects?

Yes, this is the usual itinerary every year and I go to Europe and Asia, and come to this part of the world a lot because it makes me happy.

I do have a new opera coming out in April which has been especially composed and we are going to start performing in Spain. This production will go around Austria and Russia and on from there.

Will Abu Dhabi be part of that tour?

Why not? It is always a pleasure for me to come here. The score is shaping up to be a very interesting one, so let’s see.

• José Carreras and Katherine Jenkins will perform at the du Arena at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, tomorrow at 7pm. Tickets begin from Dh395 and are available at www.ticketmaster.ae