Biography Montserrat Caballé - Spanish operatic soprano

Biography Montserrat Caballé

Spanish operatic soprano

Montserrat Caballé was a renowned Spanish/Catalan operatic soprano, known for her stunning vocal range and versatility. She was born on April 12, 1933 on street C/ d'Igualada, 20 in the Gracia neighbourhood of Barcelona. She passed away on October 6, 2018 at the age of 85.

Montserrat Caballé was one of the great lyrical voices of the 20th century admired both for her powerful  voice and her bel canto technique. She was the most widely known and loved of Spanish opera singers becoming a diva to equal legends like Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf or Renata Tebaldi.

Montserrat Caballé Folch was born in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona into a modest family. Her mother, who played the piano, gave her her first musical training that helped her enter at the age of 11 at Barcelona's Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu with a scholarship.

She alternated jobs to help her family support her passion for music until in 1950 a music-loving textile industrialist and patron sponsored her full-time studies at the Liceo Conservatory. Caballé graduated in 1954 and after graduating she made his first operatic debut with the role of Serpina in "La serva padrona" at the Teatro Principal in Valencia on June 27, 1955. After a few years performing outside Spain at the opera houses in Basel, Vienna and Bremen, she finally made her debut at the Liceo de Barcelona on January 7, 1962 in the role of Arabella, by Richard Strauss, a performance received with enthusiasm by critics and public.

From Europe she then jumped to America and after her performance at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times headline was: Callas + Tebaldi = Caballé , which was a definitive boost to her international projection and led to a many offers from world famous theaters and record companies. She went on to sing at all the top opera houses like Scala in Milan, Staatsoper in Vienna, Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London and many more. Her voice has been heard alongside the best orchestras and the most prestigious conductors.

Montserrat Caballé always felt especially close to the Lyceu. She was the first singer to show her unconditional support when it was destroyed by flames in 1994, singing in front of its ruins and donating a significant amount for its reconstruction. In January 2012, the Liceu honored Caballé on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of her debut in the Barcelona theater with a gala that was attended by colleagues and friends, including the tenors Josep Carreras and Juan Diego Flórez.

Caballé's extensive repertoire included nearly 100 stage roles and over 80 recordings. She performed in prestigious opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and La Scala. Notably, she collaborated with Freddie Mercury on the album "Barcelona," bringing opera to a wider audience. Mercury died eight months before the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Instead she sang "Amigos para siempre" (Friends forever) with Spanish tenor José Carreras. Throughout her career, she received numerous accolades, including the Order of Isabel la Católica and being named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She passed away on October 6, 2018, in Barcelona Caballé at the age of 85 in Barcelona’s Sant Pau Hospital. She is buried in the Sant Andreu de Barcelona cemetery.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2024 09:34