Carlos Almenar Otero (03/21/1926 – 08/07/2018), “El Maestro” (The Master), one of Venezuela’s greatest singing virtuosos, has inspired several generations of singers and musicians through a prolific career in the art of music.

Carlos Almenar was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on March 21, 1926. His father   served in the Venezuelan Army as an officer, and most of his family members were closely related to the military. Almenar developed a great passion for music in his youth. Yet, his father was not supportive of his desire, and few years after graduating from high school, Carlos decided to enlist at the Naval Academy. Nevertheless, a military life was not in Carlos’ destiny. In 1951, he participated in the singing contest “El Gran Caruso”, sponsored by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Caracas, Venezuela, and won the first prize. Then he was sent to Brazil to represent Venezuela in the finals, and placed third. After this success, the following year he decided to abandon his career as a Navy officer to embark in what would become one of the most remarkable careers in the history of the music in Venezuela.

When he was 25, Carlos departed to Europe to study opera at the well-known Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Italy on a government scholarship. Almenar studied with Professor Nino Piccaluga, a popular Italian tenor, and few years later in Germany with Professor Paula Schreck (of Vienna) on how to sing using Professor Otto Iro’s special respiratory technique, a technique that has been the foundation of El Maestro’s breathing training called “Entrenamiento Respiratorio Vocal Fisiológico” (Respiratory Vocal Physiological Training). Carlos Almenar Otero has successfully used this technique to sing and teach students throughout his entire career with excellent results.

Following his training in Europe, El Maestro started an extraordinary career. In 1955, he returned to Venezuela and held his first professional presentation on Radio Caracas (Caracas’ main radio station) and at the Teatro Nacional (National Theater) in 1956. He soon started to receive international recognition. After the success of “El Gran Caruso”  back in 1951, few years later, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer invited Carlos to perform in Germany for the Berlin Film Festival with the American actor and opera singer Mario Lanza. During this time, he also debuted in the opera with The Barber of Seville (El Barbiere di Siviglia) at the Teatro Nuovo (New Theater) in Italy. The following year he did his first presentation on international television in Madrid, Spain.

In 1959, he started a series of performances with some of the most recognized German radio stations: Radio Frankfurt with the Erich Boersel Symphony Orchestra; Radio Hamburg with the Alfred Hause Orchestra; Radio Koeln with the Werner Mueller Orchestra (Cologne); Radio Bayrischer Rundfunk (Munich); Radio Baden Baden with the Rolf-Hans Mueller Orchestra; and Radio Saarbruecken, with the Studio Orchestra.

These series of events opened the door of stardom to Carlos Almenar Otero. His first popular hit, “Bella Maria,” was recorded in German in the early 1960s,. It sold more than 600,000 copies in Germany. This success opened the way for several concert tours in northern European countries.

His second popular hit, “Cara Mia”, sold more than 800,000 copies. The success of Bella Maria and Cara Mia led to several world tours in the United States, Japan, and Russia in the mid 1960s.


After this long period of successful activities, he was selected by the Composers and Musicians Union of Germany to represent Germany in a prominent international song festival, with a song composed by Hans Blum (a famous German composer), and was subsequently offered German citizenship. In the late 1960s he began a recording project with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of London, conducted by Frank Barber. During these years, under Deutsche Grammophon (Polydor) contract, Carlos recorded 54 albums in three languages, and was engaged for tours in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and Denmark.


After this successful career, Carlos Almenar Otero returned to Venezuela in 1980 to serve his home country. He specialized in recordings with large orchestras, hosted a radio series, “Historia del Bel Canto” (the History of Bell Canto) for Radio Nacional (National Radio), and acted as the Chairman of the jury for the popular TV series “Cuanto Vale el Show ?,” (What is your show worth?) a similar TV show to American Idol. The TV series increased Carlos’ popularity and it became the most popular show in Venezuela for over 16 years (1985-2001). The series was also broadcasted in the U.S. and Latin America on DirectTV for over 8 years. In 1987, he was elected as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Venezuelan Composers Union (SACVEN). Then, in 1989, he founded the Almenar Otero Foundation to help and motivate the young musicians of Venezuela.  


In 1994, Almenar wrote his first book titled “El Estudio de la Voz “ (the Study of the Voice). In the book, he enriched Professor Otto Iro’s masterwork, “Wissenschaftliche Stimmbildung” (Scientific Voice Studies), with his own professional experiences of more than fifty years, and created the “Entrenamiento Respiratorio Vocal Fisiológico” (Respiratory Vocal Physiological Training).


In 2003, he traveled to the U.S. to become a Professor at the University of Miami’s Koubek Center. Almenar released his first training video (DVD) in 2004 called “El Maestro de la Voz” (The Master of the Voice). In 2006, he established the Science of the Voice School for singers, actors and professors, at the Dr. Jose Maria Vargas University in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Carlos Almenar is not anymore among us, but his voice is now immortal. 

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