Last Sunday 23rd July, Josep Carreras' A Life in Music was the planned event which provided Thurn und Taxis Schlossfestspiele of Regensburg, Germany, a grandiose closure of its current edition. Countess Gloria, Princess of Thurn und Taxis welcomed again the legendary tenor 13 years after his previous performance at her castle in one of its first editions: now accompanied by soprano Elena Stikhina and the Hofer Symphoniker conducted by David Giménez, Josep Carreras matched with his artistry the sophisticated nobleness of the magnificent location.



Photo: Isa Foltin

The gardens and the yard hosting the concert were filled with a magic atmosphere which reached its maximum extent as Carreras joined the stage: after the orchestra's solo with L'Arlésienne Suite. Farandole, the tenor opened with Canción húngara from zarzuela Alma de Dios, which was the clear evidence of the fact he wasn't going to save energy neither for the second part, nor for the encores: in perfect shape, he gave it all from the very first phrase, displaying his passionate phrasing and refining each detail with extreme elegance and care. 
In case the charm of the surroundings did ever bewitched and confuse you, as he started to sing everything was familiar again and nothing was more captivating and involving than the beauty of his singing. Needless to say this sensation continued with the following songs, Pecché, Passione and The Impossible Dream, which was preceded by Shostakovich's Waltz from Jazz Suite no. 2.

The second part opened very sweetly with Serenata sincera and evolved passionately with Vurria, which possibly corresponded to two of the most thrilling moments of the evening: once again he proved to be a real master in the alternation between softness and power, between his unsurpassed mezza voce and full voice in order to really mean what he was singing.

Elena Stikhina proved to be up to expectations with her warm and sensual timbre in Song to the Moon from Dvorak's Rusalka and Mercè dilette amiche from Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani, to then join Carreras in their first duet, Je te veux. In the second part, she seduced the audience with Les filles de Cadix and then accompanied the tenor throughout the long medley which combined Tosti's repertoire (L'ultima canzone) to musical (Tonight), operetta (Meine Lippen sie küssen so heiß, Lippen Schweigen), zarzuela (Rosó, Canción de Paloma, Ya mis horas felices), culminated with opera (Habanera, Vesti la giubba, Brindisi): a sequence of charming details from delightful mezza voce in L'ultima canzone or pianissimo in Tonight's finale to an overwhelming dramatic force in Leoncavallo's aria, Vesti la Giubba, which is a powerful evidence of the intelligence and an almost 50 year experience on stage.

At this point, the audience could not hold enthusiasm back and literally exploded with never ending ovations even stamping their feet. After being showered with flowers, Carreras sang the first of five encores, Chitarra Romana, later followed by Core 'ngrato which totally moved us all: it's unbelievable how this piece always turns out to be tailored to his artistic soul.
Elena Stikhina displayed all her charisma in her animated rendition of Heia, Heia, in die Bergen from Die Csárdáfürstin, which combined sensual singing and dance as well.
Finally, two last duets: Non ti scordar di me and Amigos para siempre (Friends for Life), even more meaningful 25 years since the Barcelona Olympic Games of 1992.
The air was filled with pure emotion and thrill on and off the stage, an unforgettable evening for everyone.


The day after the concert, the tenor visited blood diseases patients at the University Hospital in Regensburg.