The soprano Montserrat Caballé He died at dawn this Saturday at age 85 at the Sant Pau hospital in Barcelona, where he was hospitalized since mid-September by an gallbladder problem, as reported by hospital sources. The funeral of the artist, of prodigious voice, will be held on Monday at noon at the funeral of Les Corts, while the wake will be this Sunday from two in the afternoon at the same funeral site.
From Montserrat Caballé you can have many images, most of them, surely, in the opera theater scenarios of any part of the world as one of the great lyric voices of the 20th century. She was, without doubt, one of the singers at the height of myths such as Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland or Renata Tebaldi. She was also a soprano with a tremendous humanity, with feelings on the skin. For the story there have been images like the tears of the artist / woman / Barcelona before the theater of the Lyceum, which was her second home, turned to ashes in 1994, and in whose reconstruction she was personally involved.
Montserrat Caballé Folch was born on April 12, 1933 in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona, in the bosom of a modest family, where her mother gave her her first musical training that helped her to enter the Superior Conservatory of Music at the age of 11. of the Lyceum with a scholarship. At the Coliseum in Barcelona he studied with Eugenia Kemeny, Conchita Badía and Napoleone Annovazzi. Caballé graduated in 1954 in an eventful final test in which he came to lose consciousness, and after graduating he made his first operatic premiere with the role of Serpina de La serva padrona, by Giovanni Battista, at the Teatro Principal de Valencia on June 27, 1955 with the Chamber Opera Company of Barcelona, directed by Napoleone Annovazzi. At the Lyceum he debuted on January 7, 1962 with Arabella, by Richard Strauss.
Then it was projected in the rest of opera theaters of the world, on everything from the overwhelming success that it had on April 20, 1965 with Lucrezia Borgia, by Gaetano Donizetti, when he replaced an indisposed Marilyn Horne at the Carnegie Hall in New York. The newspaper The New York Times he even said that his voice was a combination of those of the legendary Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi. During his 50 years of career he performed hundreds of operas and concerts in the main theaters around the world. Always with the best orchestras and distributions, and with a repertoire that covers about 90 papers. His voice has been heard along with the best orchestras and the most prestigious directors, among them Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, James Levine, Claudio Abbado, Seiji Ozawa or Riccardo Muti.
In his repertoire they appear The servant padrona (Pergolesi); Cossì fan tutte (Mozart); Rule or I puritani of Bellini; The favourite (Donizetti); Il Trovatore, Lto Traviata, Un Ballo in Maschera Y Aida (Verdi); the heroines Isolda Y Sieglinde, of Wagner; the Puccini quartet (Tosca, La Bohème, Madame Butterfly Y Turandot); the Adriana Lecouvreur, tell to; wave Salome of Strauss.
The emblematic theater of La Rambla has always had the diva very present, whom in 2002 she became the first female member of the Círculo del Liceo and to whom she dedicated the book that year Montserrat Caballé, 40 years at the Lyceum. In January 2012, this theater honored Caballé on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his debut in the Barcelona theater with a gala that was attended by numerous colleagues and friends of the soprano, such as tenors Josep Carreras and Juan Diego Flórez or the baritone Joan Pons.
Throughout his career, Caballé shared the stage with all the great artists, although he recognized that he had a special chemistry with three of them: Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and Carreras. "When he sang Manon Lescaut with Plácido Domingo, who was wonderful, he told me that he discovered a new world singing with me and the same thing happened to me. With José Carreras I had a very special relationship, we were enthralled listening to each other. And with Luciano Pavarotti, I was like a father, "he recalled.
A review of the artist's life through images
Montserrat Caballé made incursions into popular music and even into pop music, and the interpretation he made in 1988 with the singer Freddie Mercury of the subject will always remain in his memory. Barcelona, who championed the 1992 Olympic Games. "For the world of opera, it was a revolution, an authentic revolution," the soprano acknowledged a few years later.
The artist, who retired a few years ago, offered more than 4,000 performances. However, as she herself explained in an interview in 2014, she rejected the appellation of diva: "I do not consider myself a legend of the opera, nor the last diva, as journalists sometimes write. Every era has its divos and in my case the only thing I have done is to do my job well, as best as possible, at the highest level. " From her voice it has been emphasized that she was full, powerful and beautiful, that she was endowed with smoothness, sharpness, purity or softness, and that her timbre was iridescent and iridescent.
The promoter of the International Singing Contest that bears her name suffered in recent years health problems that forced him to cancel several commitments. Thus, from October 20 to 31, 2012 she was admitted to the Sant Pau hospital in Barcelona, after suffering a stroke in Russia, which caused her humerus to rupture, which was operated on at the Teknon Clinic on November 10 of that year. year.
Caballé has collected countless awards and distinctions during his career, including the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, received in 1991 ex aequo with other greats of the Spanish lyric: Victoria de los Angeles, Teresa Berganza, Pilar Lorengar, Alfredo Kraus, Plácido Domingo and Josep Carreras. Her husband was the Aragonese tenor Bernabé Martí (Martínez) Remacha, with whom she married in 1964 and with whom she had two children, one of them the soprano Montserrat Martí, who has accompanied her in recitals in recent years.
In December 2015, he accepted the penalty of six months in prison for defrauding half a million euros to the Treasury five years earlier. Caballé ratified the pact he reached with the prosecutor's office and the State Attorney in statements that, for health reasons, he made from home and through videoconferencing. To avoid serving the sentence the singer had to pay a fine of 240,000 euros. Caballé admitted that, in 2010, he figured as a resident in Andorra to pay less taxes even though he lived, in fact, in Barcelona. His last performance took place in August 2014, within the Cambrils Music Festival, where he performed with his daughter.