UPDATE: the original news release apparently misquoted Carreras, and he is NOT retiring. Yippee!!
I am what is considered a "younger" opera-goer. I didn't grow up listening to the Golden Age singers (I discovered them later) my era was when opera started to crossover - when Carreras sang West Side Story, when Domingo sang with John Denver (yes, it pains me to type that) when the Pav did duets with Bono, Sting and the Eurhythmics.
It wasn't always a pretty time, or even pretty music, but it was a time of exploration for the genre, one that we should all be grateful for.
Sure, it ended up spawning things like Charlotte Church and Katherine Jenkins, but it also gave our favorite format new legs, and new audiences.
No one can argue with the fact that the Three Tenors series of concerts did much to inject a new energy into a format that was mummifying. To take opera and put it in ballparks and football arenas. To take it out of context but still use good technique - to show a new group of listeners that you don't have to be afraid of opera. Carreras was part of all that, and for that, I thank him.
Carreras, in somewhat of a stretch, is sort of "our" Lance Armstrong, and from earlier in our medical abilities, when a diagnosis of cancer often meant the complete end of a career. (Just think about what strides medical technology has made in the last 10 years) He not only fought through it, but was able to come back to the stage - his Salzburg recital from 2005 is a good example of his later career singing.
So now the Pav is gone, Domingo sings transposed, and Carreras has hung up his vocal cords, in a manner of speaking.
I am saddened, but also happy that he gave us what he could while he could.
Which singers on the horizon will lead this art form forward?
Discuss amongst yourselves.