Since a few days Josep Carreras is in New York for his upcoming recital at the Carnegie Hall on Thursday, 28 September, together with mezzosoprano Margarita Gritskova and his pianist Lorenzo Bavaj: from that very stage he poses for the interview for the New York Times in which he reflected on his career.

Here are edited excerpts from the conversation. 

How did you decide when to call it a day? 

Sooner or later you have to face the reality, no? To stop your professional life. The projects I have now go through 2018 and maybe part of 2019 — two years from now. Every time that I go on stage now, I realize much more how I enjoy it, and I realize that the end is very close — so I enjoy it more and more. But I don’t think more than two years.  

Is it melancholy to think of this being your last Carnegie performance? 

I was thinking today, the first time I ever sang here was in Verdi’s “I Lombardi,” with Eve Queler, and that was December ’72. It sounds scary, but it’s true!

Keep reading the whole article on The New York Times' website.

Some critics thought that you sang some dramatic roles, like Radamès in “Aida,” too soon, and it damaged your voice. 

Why did I sing Radames in “Aida?” Because that was Salzburg, with Herbert von Karajan, the Vienna Philharmonic, Mirella Freni, etc., etc. If you don’t take this opportunity as an artist — I’m not talking about career, or business, but as an artist. To have this extreme joy of being not just in the first league, but at the top of the very first league — you have to take this risk. When you are a young singer you’re told: “You have to sing with the interest, not with the capital.” But the capital is your voice. You have to use your capital! In business, when you invest in something, you have to use your capital.

What do you most enjoy singing now? 

In the end, what I realized is that what the audience wants to listen to is the repertoire I enjoy myself: the Italian songs, the Spanish songs, Neapolitan songs. I sang a recital a couple of years ago at La Scala, and somebody asked me at a news conference, “Ah, but your repertoire, Mr. Carreras, is so-and-so.” I said, “Look, I’ve sung in this beautiful opera house more than 40 years. Allow me to enjoy myself now!”

Yesterday this other interview from Opera Wire has been published, in which, among other facts, he explains in what his Final World Tour consists of and recalls his dearest memories at the Carnegie Hall and New York.

Read the whole interview on Opera Wire.

In particular, I would like to report here just a few excerpts.

OW: What are some of your favorite moments singing in Carnegie Hall?
JC: I had some magical moments at Carnegie Hall in recitals for instance – because the hall has this special atmosphere which forces an artist to try to give his absolute best. I try this of course in each concert or recital but in this hall, one gets an extra kick. Like in the Royal Albert Hall or in La Scala in Milano or in Konzerthaus Vienna…all very special halls. And of course, it is important that New York audiences are fantastic and know a lot about music!
OW: Once you conclude your tour, what are some of your plans? Will you work with young singers or do master classes? 

JC: The tour will continue but I think of course about what will happen after that. For two years I have been doing masterclasses in Pesaro – but my greatest goal will be to work even more intensely for my leukemia foundation! Our big goal is that leukemia one day becomes curable for everyone. 

OW: Can you tell me a little about The José Carreras International Leukemia Foundation and how it has developed over the years? How do you think it has contributed to the scientific development and how has it helped families? 

JC: I can say that so far we did an excellent job to help finance scientific projects, outpatient clinics etc. and, with the help of many people, we were able to collect over 220 million euros! And very soon we will inaugurate the new Carreras Center in Barcelona. On this campus, scientists will conduct the search for treatments against this terrible disease from which I also suffered.