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on October 21, 1997
The inspiring story of how Jose Carreras, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 1987 and given only a 10 percent chance of survival, endured chemotherapy, a bone-marrow transplant and 14 months in hospitals on two continents. His triumph over this disease is set against the backdrop of his childhood and early musical education in Barcelona in the wake of the Spanish Civil War, his fierce Catalan pride and his legendary career as one of the world's greatest operatic tenors. Although leukemia took its obvious toll on his voice, appearance and physical stamina, this autobiography charts his courageous rise back to the top of his profession. This is one of those books that you will read again and again.
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on September 18, 2005
I find this book to be a good opportunity to get a glimpse of the everyday life of a superstar in the operatic world. In addition to a lot of black-and-white pictures Jos' Carreras is telling us in a very honest and straight-forward way of his life both on and off the stage. Of course there is a chapter dedicated to his fight against leukaemia and even though he's simply stating the fact of how it was going through this awfully difficult time of his life, you can't help but getting touched by a human being who obviously has gone through a really horrible time, but because of good doctors and help from above in addition to an ocean of willpower he came through it - still able to sing.

Apart from the chapter about his leukaemia-treatment we get some small and amusing episodes from the operatic world. What I find particularly attractive about this book is that Carreras refrain from giving us juicy gossip stories; he's simply telling us about things that has happened either with him at the centre of attraction or other episodes that he himself has witnessed. I loved the story about his first encounter with Karajan when he was going to sing in "Requiem" and Karajan had taken him on without a trial singing. When they all met up for rehearsal he was so nervous that he ended up unable to sing. Not one single note came from him during the entire rehearsal. I like this story because he shows us that even major superstars are human beings like everybody else. I also admire him for being honest enough to wanting to tell a story like this. Also the story about him calling his singing teacher from different parts of the world and complaining about having difficulties with his high C and his teacher would merely respond that "what are you talking about? You've never had a high C....."

And we're given the story about how strong his desire to sing has been through his whole life and that no one in the world has heard "La donna e mobile" as many times as his family. But in the end they got fed up and asked him to go elsewhere to sing and then he simply locked himself in the bathroom and continued singing....

There are lots of stories like this throughout the book, but I don't want to spoil the fun for those who haven't read the book yet, so I won't tell you any more stories. But what I can say is that this is an enjoyable read if you're interested in opera or simply want to read about the life of a humble, honest and unassuming superstar. Normally you wouldn't think it possible to combine these things, but Jos' Carreras shows us that it can be done. Unlike many other major stars, there isn't the slightest air of arrogance around him. At last I just have to say that Jos' Carreras was the single force that drew me into the wonderful world of opera with his out-of-this-world-voice and honest and heartfelt singing. And for that I'm forever grateful. Thank you, Josep.
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on November 8, 2015
This book was written in the 1980's and updated for its US edition in the 1990's. So its focus is on the first part of Carreras' life and career. Carreras fans might appreciate yet another update, covering his more recent career emphasis on concerts rather than opera and on further development of his family and personal interests. However do autobiographies ever give us a view of the total person?

Carreras' own story is told is a straight-forward way with an occasional chuckle at himself. The flamboyance and sensory heights of the operatic stage are not traits of Carreras' personal lifestyle, it seems. Early in the book he admonishes a person close to him to not fall into the trap of sentiment. This could be a sign that for Carreras sentiment is reserved for the stage. He is not cold but is reserved of his feelings about what is happening in his life. Included photographs, both the snapshots and the professional, give more information about his range of feeling about what involves him, yet some mystery remains.

He speaks of how every note he sings is sung to fulfill its meaning and its place in the music. He tells of how he found opera at age six and chose it as his life's focus. How can words, even his own, really explain how the music pours out and pours into listeners' hearts? After reading this and hopefully hearing at least some of his recordings, you will have no doubt that his song does come directly from his soul.

I agree with some of what the one-star review said but not with that rating. Non-native speakers would have a translator/ editor/ secretary to smooth out any language problems but such aides are chosen because they are compatible with the writer's own tone and intent.
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on June 18, 2001
This is a wonderful book of Jose Carreras. You will see how he feels about meeting Herbert von Karajan. You will see how his comeback concert turned out. You will learn about his childhood, children, favorite operas, et.al
Oh sure, quite a bit of it is weirdly death - obsessed (leukemia, et.al) But it surely is worthwhile!
Enjoy!!
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on June 19, 2016
This book was written in the 1980's and updated for its US edition in the 1990's. So its focus is on the first part of Carreras' life and career. Carreras fans might appreciate yet another update, covering his more recent career emphasis on concerts rather than opera and on further development of his family and personal interests. However do autobiographies ever give us a view of the total person?Carreras' own story is told is a straight-forward way with an occasional chuckle at himself. The flamboyance and sensory heights of the operatic stage are not traits of Carreras' personal lifestyle, it seems. Early in the book he admonishes a person close to him to not fall into the trap of sentiment. This could be a sign that for Carreras sentiment is reserved for the stage. He is not cold but is reserved of his feelings about what is happening in his life. Included photographs, both the snapshots and the professional, give more information about his range of feeling about what involves him, yet some mystery remains.He speaks of how every note he sings is sung to fulfill its meaning and its place in the music. He tells of how he found opera at age six and chose it as his life's focus. How can words, even his own, really explain how the music pours out and pours into listeners' hearts? After reading this and hopefully hearing at least some of his recordings, you will have no doubt that his song does come directly from his soul.I agree with some of what the one-star review said but not with that rating. Non-native speakers would have a translator/ editor/ secretary to smooth out any language problems but such aides are chosen because they are compatible with the writer's own tone and intent.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 19, 2005
I find this book to be a good opportunity to get a glimpse of the everyday life of a superstar in the operatic world. In addition to a lot of black-and-white pictures José Carreras is telling us in a very honest and straight-forward way of his life both on and off the stage. Of course there is a chapter dedicated to his fight against leukaemia and even though he's simply stating the fact of how it was going through this awfully difficult time of his life, you can't help but being touched by a human being who obviously has gone through a really horrible time, but because of good doctors and help from above in addition to an ocean of willpower he came through it - still able to sing.

Apart from the chapter about his leukaemia-treatment we get some small and amusing episodes from the operatic world. What I find particularly attractive about this book is that Carreras refrain from giving us juicy gossip stories; he's simply telling us about things that has happened either with him at the centre of attraction or other episodes that he himself has witnessed. I loved the story about his first encounter with Karajan when he was going to sing in "Requiem" and Karajan had taken him on without a trial singing. When they all met up for rehearsal he was so nervous that he ended up unable to sing. Not one single note came from him during the entire rehearsal. I like this story because he shows us that even major superstars are human beings like everybody else. I also admire him for being honest enough to wanting to tell a story like this. Also the story about him calling his singing teacher from different parts of the world and complaining about having difficulties with his high C and his teacher would merely respond that "what are you talking about? You've never had a high C....."

And we're given the story about how strong his desire to sing has been through his whole life and that no one in the world has heard "La donna e mobile" as many times as his family. But in the end they got fed up and asked him to go elsewhere to sing and then he simply locked himself in the bathroom and continued singing....

There are lots of stories like this throughout the book, but I don't want to spoil the fun for those who haven't read the book yet, so I won't tell you any more stories. But what I can say is that this is an enjoyable read if you're interested in opera or simply want to read about the life of a humble, honest and unassuming superstar. Normally you wouldn't think it possible to combine these things, but José Carreras shows us that it can be done. Unlike many other major stars, there isn't the slightest air of arrogance around him. At last I just have to say that José Carreras was the single force that drew me into the wonderful world of opera with his out-of-this-world-voice and honest and heartfelt singing. And for that I'm forever grateful. Thanks, Josep.
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on February 15, 2014
great book about jose carreras . I read it as I am interstead in opera and the price was great .
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on July 7, 2015
still reading it-- he writes well and with emotional depth--including failures and shortcomings
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on January 8, 2015
good read
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on April 19, 2001
After the first chapter, it is obvious that there was a ghost writer for this useless biography. No point in writing an autobiography when there consists of about 2 paragraphs that talks about his private life, i.e. family, wives, children, etc. And by watching a few interviews of him, with his limited English, you know for sure he did not do the writing. A very contrived, sappy read. Don't bother picking this one up.
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