Jose Carreras flees Hong Kong

Jose Carreras flees Hong Kong


norman lebrecht

November 19, 2019

The tenor has cancelled tonight’s farewell performance in HK at a few hours’ notice.

No reason has been given, but linkage is being made to the current unrest.

An orchestra of 50 musicians and  local soprano Alison Lau have been stood down.



  • Peter Owen says:

    Here’s a (highly controversial) clip from 2010.
    Anyone else think he’s miming?

  • Peter Shi says:

    Some more details regarding the cancelled performance: it is located in an exhibition hall instead of a concert hall; the ticket prices are ridiculously expensive (HK$1980 / $1680 / $1280 / $880) and it is a Tuesday. I am thinking there may be more reasons than safety for them to cancel the performance. There has been no protest happened in the area of that exhibition center for months.

    • Max says:

      Hi Peter, sorry to disturb you.. Do you know if only this particular concert was cancelled, or die he cancel other shows as well? Thanks, Jan

  • Patrick Gillot says:

    Cowards or may be the box office was down. I live here and they have nothing to fear from the Hong Kong People. We recently received the Visit of the London Symphony and last week of Rene Fleming. Absolutely no problem. The only issue here is the government and their police but I am sure they would not have attacked Carreras,,,,

    • Nick2 says:

      I think that is a hugely unfair comment. Carreras has appeared several times in Hong Kong since his debut there in 1991. All earlier performances, including those at the Exhibition Centre, have sold extremely well, if not been sold out. He has also been extremely well received. I am certain he would not have been the one responsible for cancelling the concert.

      The prices may appear high, but it was to be his farewell appearance. For Pavarotti’s farewell concert in 2005, also in the same Exhibition Centre, the ticket price was more than double – and it sold out.

      I do not know if Peter Shi and Patrick Gillot are making a suggestion that tickets may not have sold well. If they are, I suspect many people interested in attending will have postponed purchasing tickets until knowing the state of the on-going protests and where and when they might suddenly erupt. Equally whether public transport would be running freely, I believe any large single gathering with many thousands more in the audience than for the other performances mentioned above and an artist as highly visible as Carreras could have been seen as a protest site that would garner a great deal of international PR if it had succeeded in having the concert cancelled. I realize this is speculation, but equally none of us are aware of the insurance implications with such a major event.

      • The View from America says:

        If you can afford those ticket prices, the availability of public transportation is the last thing on your mind.

        • Nick2 says:

          I suspect TVFA has not lived in Hong Kong. The Exhibition Centre is right in the heart of the city. Access by private car means fighting major rush hour traffic jams and then hoping there will be enough free spaces in the adjacent car park, for there is little other parking nearby. Then there is the jam as people drop passengers at the front of the building. Lots of people use the subway when
          there are major events.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          In cities like London, Hong Kong and even New York, wealthy people prefer to use public transport, and using it is seen as completely normal.

  • ernest says:

    To be fair to Carreras, the people in Hong Kong are in no mood for any entertainment now. They are living in very bleak times …

    • FrauGeigerin says:

      Art, not entertainment. Precisely it is art what people need in these situations.

      • José Luis says:

        Sorry, no. They need gas masks, protective pads, legal assistance and cameras to document human rights abuses. I love opera and classical music or else I would not be on this website. But let’s not pretend that some nice singing by José Carreras in a concert hall is just what the people of HK need right now. This reminds me of when that massive tool Gustavo Dudamel was conducting a concert while outside protesters were being shot by the the Venezuelan military.