Born in Barcelona, José Carreras studied music in his home town and embarked on his career in 1970 at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu with Nabucco and Lucrezia Borgia. He was soon invited to the world's most celebrated opera houses, such as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the New York Metropolitan Opera House, the San Francisco Opera, the Vienna Staatsoper, Covent Garden in London, the Munich Opera and the Chicago Opera.
He also participated in the Festivals of Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg and Edinburgh. Carreras has worked with prestigious orchestra conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Herbert von Karajan, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Giuseppe Sinopoli, James Levine, Carlo Maria Giulini, Leonard Bernstein, Jesús López-Cobos and Zubin Mehta, as well as eminent stage directors such as Franco Zeffirelli, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Giorgio Strehler, Luigi Comencini and Harold Prince.
His repertoire includes over sixty operas, notably Andrea Chénier, La Bohème, Tosca, Werther, Don Carlo, Carmen, La forza del destino, I Pagliacci, L'elisir d'amore and Un ballo in maschera.
He also gives frequent recitals and has performed at La Scala, Carnegie Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Vienna Musikverein, the Academy of Santa Cecilia, with numerous concerts in Europe and the United States.
Carreras' discography encompasses over forty operas, as well as recitals and musicals (West Side Story and South Pacific).
He has also participated in numerous film, television and video productions that include many of the operas from his repertoire.
Carreras has received numerous awards for his artistic activity, including the Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie de Paris and the Luigi Illica Prize. He has also been awarded honorary degrees from the University of Barcelona, the University of Loughborough and the University of Sheffield.
The video A Life Story received a Hollywood nomination and won the International Emmy Award in 1993.
In Rome in 1990, in Los Angeles in 1994 and again in Paris in 1998, Carreras performed in the celebrated "Three Tenors" concerts with Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.