Without doubt, the most loyal and generous client I have collaborated with throughout my career has been Jose Carreras and our long and very happy association goes back to when I was working as personnel manager/librarian for the Royal Philharmonic Pops Orchestra.
Our paths crossed for the first time in 1990 at an outdoor concert in Trujillo, Spain. After this we worked together in London, Castle Howard and Birmingham and without realising it, I became - through his agent/promoters IMG Artists - his permanent orchestral concert librarian, a role I have fulfilled for over 25 years.
It was with considerable sadness that the classical music world heard the announcement of his retirement from performing in January 2016 but any fears of an abrupt halt to his performing have been somewhat eased. In honour of his millions of fans around the globe, and in the grand tradition of many an international opera artist, he has undertaken an epic ‘Life in Music’ farewell world tour which began at the Royal Albert Hall in May, and has seen him travel throughout Europe, the Balkans and Russia, the Far East in 2016, and will see him returning to Australia and South America in 2017 and who knows where after that.
Mr Carreras has always maintained a busy, sometimes inhumanly hectic, concert schedule throughout his career (before and after the 3 Tenors phenomenon) giving concerts in Europe and London in one week, recitals and orchestral concerts in China and Taiwan the next, popping over to South America just a few weeks later to perform a multi-concert series and then back to Europe for more concerts. It is a punishing schedule he has always maintained which would be impressive for an artist of any age, let alone someone who had such a serious and cruel health scare so early in his blossoming career.
As far as our role is concerned, obviously keeping all the various international orchestras supplied with correct music materials (ie. correct arrangements in the right keys) in good time for high profile events with a genuinely internationally acclaimed classical artist has been my privilege throughout these many years. From time to time I have written new orchestral arrangements for Mr Carreras but as librarian principally I have accumulated an impressive library for him and his associated artists. The library now contains 2500+ opera, orchestral standards, Zarzuela, theatre, film and Neapolitan items and arrangements and this continues to grow.
On a personal note, sitting in the audience at the Royal Albert Hall in 2016 - possibly to see him perform in the UK for the last time, who knows? - it was awe inspiring to watch him not only singing his songs still with such passion and interpretive intelligence, but to watch the video projection behind listing throughout the concert images of the body of work that this extraordinary man has achieved, before his illness in 1987, and after it. It showed humbly and succinctly role after role in leads he played in opera houses all over the world including the Royal Opera, the Met, Milan, Vienna….. it is easy to forget that the man in that famous West Side Story Omnibus TV special was and remains a huge artist and talent, so whenever he finally does pack away his tail suit and deservedly kick back in his Barcelona villa (but not for a while please), on behalf of a very grateful music industry, public and myself, we thank you sir!
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