Carelli was born in Budapest. His father was not Italian as reported but a Jewish Hungarian banker.
Carelli studied Law at the Eötvös Loránd University (earning a Law degree) as
his father wished him too, while he studied simultaneously singing at the Franz Liszt Academy of
Music. He pursued further studies in opera in
Rome where he was a pupil of Beniamino Gigli for two years. His real name was Krausz. He started using Carelli when he sang
for the first time in Italy.
Carelli made his stage debut in 1938 in Florence as Rodolfo in La Bohčme. He spent the next year performing in a
variety of Italian theaters before moving to New York City in 1939. He spent the 1940s touring with various opera companies and
performing as a recitalist and concert performer throughout North America. He was particularly admired for his work as a soloist
in Verdi's Requiem, Rossini's Stabat Mater, Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus, and Ludwig van Beethoven's
Symphony No. 9. In 1951 he sang the role of Dr. Caius for an NBC Radio broadcast of Falstaff with Arturo Toscanini
and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. In 1952 he was the tenor
soloist for the United States premiere of Puccini's Messa di Gloria in Chicago.
On 17 November 1951, Carelli made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro with Cesare Siepi
as Figaro, Nadine Conner as Susanna, John Brownlee as Count Almaviva, Victoria de los Angeles
as Countess Almaviva, and Mildred Miller as Cherubino. He spent the next 23 years at the Met appearing in a variety of parts from
supporting tenor buffo roles to leading roles. He portrayed a total of 56 different parts in 39 operas with some of his larger
roles being Alfredo, the Captain in Wozzeck, Almaviva, Count Elemer,
Duca, Ernesto, Cavaradossi, Pinkerton, Rodolfo,
Tamino, and Tonio. Unfortunately, he was more often seen at the house in smaller to mid sized
roles such as Abbé, Arturo, Gastone, the Judge in Un ballo in
maschera, Borsa, Moser, Pong, and Trin. What a misuse of talent by Bing, similar to Nagy.
On 16 September 1966, he performed the role of the Soldier of Caesar in the world premiere of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra.
His final performance at the Met was on 22 January 1974 as one of the Jews in Salome with Grace Bumbry. He sang a total of 1,079 performances
at the MET.
At the beginning of the 1960s, Carelli was allowed to visit again Hungary. He gave on the Hungarian radio a series of
shows on the History of Opera. He visited Hungary for the last ime during April 1997.
In 1964, he joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music where he taught singing and worked as
an ensemble instructor until his death in Manhattan at the age of 83.