On the eve of his 39th birthday Jose Carreras said Wednesday, "I'll worry about 40 when I get there. Right now, I feel fine, the voice is in good shape, and things are going well."
That should be good news to local Carreras fans, a good number of whom have virtually bought out the tenor's third Ambassador Auditorium recital, scheduled Sunday night.
Reached in Miami, Fla., where he was appearing with orchestra earlier this week, the popular, much-recorded Spanish tenor, darling of international opera audiences for the last decade, spoke jauntily about the direction of his career.
In the next two years, he recounted, he will sing three new roles, Canio in "Pagliacci," and the title role in both Massenet's "Le Cid," and Donizetti's "Poliuto."
"I am not one of those singers who have five or six roles," Carreras explains, unnecessarily, "then sing them forever. I like new things, I like risk. For me, to take risks is a must."
Still, the handsome singer says, he believes he is not moving ahead--to those heavy, darker roles--faster than he should.
This despite the fact that he has already sung some dramatic parts in Verdi operas--Radames in "Aida" and the title role in "Don Carlos," for instance--to controversial reactions, one of them the predictable accusation that the essential beauty of the singer's tone has been sacrificed in the move to heavier roles.
"As the singer approaches his late 30s," Carreras says, "the voice takes on other colors, naturally. That is the normal process. We Spaniards have darker voices than some others, but that doesn't change the normal progression of things.
"At my age, I would like to see how the voice develops. Of course, I enjoy adding roles to my repertoire. In the next few years, I would like to sing, perhaps, Des Grieux (in Massenet's "Manon"). And, perhaps, Lohengrin."
Sunday night in Pasadena, Carreras, assisted by his longtime pianistic associate, Martin Katz, will perform songs and arias by Tosti, Bellini, Denza, Respighi, Leoncavallo, Massenet, Ginastera, Guastavino, Halffter, Sorozabal, Puccini and Cilea.