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Hermosa Foundation: Wikis


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The Hermosa Foundation is a non-existent foundation, rumored to have been created and financed by Plácido Domingo to help fellow tenor José Carreras in his fight against leukemia. The rumor also states that Domingo's support was kept secret, as he was allegedly in a feud with Carreras at the time and didn't want to humiliate him by publicly offering his help. This urban legend keeps circulating on the web, although it is now proven to be false.


As always, it is difficult to date precisely the birth of an urban legend. The website records it first appearance in an email from 2005[1]. Since then, the legend spread widely throughout the world, mostly via emails, and is repeated as a true story on numerous websites in various languages.

The story explains how Carreras, born in Barcelona, and Domingo, born in Madrid, became not only musical rivals but bitter enemies in 1984, concerning the political debate over Catalan autonomy. It went so far that both specified in their contracts that they would always refuse to perform together in any event.

In 1987, when Carreras was diagnosed with leukemia, he had to go through several constraining treatments, including a bone marrow transplant, and was forced to travel to the United States once a month. Because he was also unable to sing under these conditions, Carreras' fortune quickly started to vanish. It was then that he discovered the Hermosa Foundation, based in Madrid and offering support to people suffering from leukemia. Thanks to that foundation, he recovered from his illness and returned to singing.

Still according to the rumour, Carreras found out later that the Hermosa Foundation had been secretly created and financed by Domingo, with the sole purpose of helping him with his treatment. Domingo had chosen to remain anonymous to avoid humiliating Carreras by making him feel indebted to his enemy. Deeply moved by this gesture, Carreras interrupted a concert held by Domingo in Madrid, knelt at his feet to thank him and to beg for forgiveness. Their rivalry then turned into a great friendship, and together with Luciano Pavarotti under the name The Three Tenors, they held several very successful concerts to promote treatments against leukemia.

Asked by a journalist why he had decided to help his only rival and enemy, Plácido Domingo would have replied: "We cannot afford to lose a voice like that ..."


This story is often quoted as a source of inspiration for human kindness and fraternity beyond differences, but it is untrue. The true story (which follows) is an inspiration in itself and can stand on its own merits - without the addition of sentimental flourishes.

José Carreras was indeed diagnosed with leukemia in 1987, with little chance of survival. During the next year, he went through some severe treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant. Not only did he survive but he was able to resume his singing career.

His experience led him to found the Fundació Internacional Josep Carreras in 1988, to fight against leukemia by supporting medical research and helping match bone marrow donors with recipients.

To raise money for his foundation, he, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti held the first Three Tenors concert during the FIFA World Cup 1990 in Italy. The event was a great commercial success, accompanied by a best-selling album, and was followed by many other concerts and recordings.

Carreras was treated by doctors in Barcelona and at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, named after Seattle native Fred Hutchinson, a Major League Baseball pitcher and manager who died of cancer in 1964 at age 45. But there is no evidence that a Hermosa Foundation has ever existed, let alone that it was sponsored by Plácido Domingo. Furthermore, he and José Carreras were never enemies nor had mutual non-performance clauses in their contracts.

In response to the rumour, the José Carreras International Leukaemia Foundation has issued on its website the following official denial[2]:

In relation to the information published in different websites referring to a supposed financing by a Hermosa Foundation and Mr. Plácido Domingo of Mr. José Carreras’ leukaemia treatment, the José Carreras International Leukaemia Foundation and Mr. José Carreras himself feel compelled to deny all these in formations, especially refuting that any relationship exists or has ever existed between the pretended Hermosa Foundation and Mr. Carreras. No financial assistance from Mr. Domingo nor from said Hermosa Foundation, whose existence is totally unknown to him, nor from any other source was ever requested, neither received.
Moreover, Mr. José Carreras has a special interest in stating that friendship, profound admiration and mutual respect have always presided his relationship with Mr. Domingo. Mr. José Carreras has started legal action in defence of his own interest and right to honour and has the firm intention of legally acting against any person or corporation publishing non-confirmed and untrue informations on his person.


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