© Oscar Ponce
Javier Camarena was born in Veracruz (Mexico) and studied voice at the Guanajuato University. In 2004, he won the first prize at the Carlo Morelli Singing Competition in Mexico and the Juan Oncinas award at the Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona in 2005.
He made his debut in 2004 in Mexico at the Palacio de Bellas Artes singing Tonio in La Fille du Régiment. In Mexico, he subsequently performed Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Nemorino (L’Elisir d’amore), Ernesto (Don Pasquale) and Dorvil (La Scala di Seta).
Javier Camarena most recently became the talk of the opera world, when he joined the ranks of Luciano Pavarotti and Juan Diego Flórez to become the third singer in 70 years to perform an encore at the Metropolitan Opera House when he stopped the house during a performance of Rossini’s la Cenerentola singing Ramiro’s aria "Si ritrovarla io giuro". Later at Madrid’s Teatro Real, he repeated the same historic feat, with the encore of “Ah! Mes amis quelle jour de fête, from Donizetti’s La fille du régiment. Camarena is the only tenor in the history of both opera houses to sing encores in two consecutive performances.
Anticipating his return to the MET in March 2016, Opera News Magazine dedicated its 80th anniversary edition’s cover to him. "Tenor sensation", as presented by Scott Barnes, he published in the feature story entitled CAMARENA GOLD that reads: "His good-sized voice is of uncommon beauty from bottom to top; the middle of the voice in particular is virile and darkish in color, but with a burnished glow… recitatives, subito pianos, long diminuendos on high notes, tasteful rubatos, cadenzas and variations that are born out of the drama…A layman might call him "natural", but there is certainly nothing natural about the theatrical tightrope-walking he does so well. "Truthful" is a better term."
From early years in his career his ravishing voice earned him leading roles in the belcanto repertoire, under the batons of some of the most outstanding conductors such as Claudio Abbado or Zubin Metha, He has performed in some of Europe’s and the United States’ most prominent opera houses, concert halls and festivals as well as in Chile, Colombia and his native Mexico.
Future projects including a.o. his Royal Opera Covent Garden debut as Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Ramiro (La Cenerentola) in Munich and Bilbao, his return to the Met (Il Barbiere di Siviglia and I Puritani), Zurich (I Puritani and Il Barbiere di Siviglia) and his debut as Duca (Rigoletto) at the Gran Teatro Liceu in Barcelona where he also will reappear in one of his favourite roles: as Tonio in La Fille du regiment.