August 5, 2021

Plácido Domingo: "He had such an incredible voice that you said to him: 'Montserrat, when are you going to breathe?" | Culture

Plácido Domingo: "He had such an incredible voice that you said to him: 'Montserrat, when are you going to breathe?" | Culture

Plácido Domingo was already in bed, at his home in Los Angeles, in the United States, reviewing the news of Spain, when he saw – "with great surprise and deep sadness" – that of the death at the age of 85 of the soprano Montserrat Caballé, the singer of "unique voice" with whom she has shared so many times in a golden age for Spanish interpreters. At that moment, he receives the call from EL PAÍS.

"It has been a surprise. And with great sadness we took a news like this, the death of a great Spanish singer, Catalan, of great human quality. It's a very big sadness, "laments Dominic.

The 77-year-old tenor, orchestra director, producer and composer remembers the last time he saw the soprano. "It was just over a year and a half ago that I went to Barcelona and the singers from that batch joined us at the Liceo. We were Jaime Argall, José Carreras, Joan Pons, Teresa Berganza … And the truth is that it was a very nice meeting, with much nostalgia for a time when there was really talk about the Spaniards who were singing in all the theaters, "he says. It refers to the award ceremony of the magazine Current opera, held at the end of April 2016 at the Círculo del Liceu in Barcelona, ​​which was also attended by Juan Pons, José Bros, Isabel Rey, María José Montiel, Stefano Palatchi, Celso Albelo, Borja Quiza and Davinia Rodríguez.

After more than 3,500 performances, in which he has played 150 characters, Domingo does not remember exactly which was the first time he coincided on stage with Caballé: maybe it was in Mexico, representing a Madama Butterfly (Puccini) or maybe a Adriana Lecouvreur (Francesco Cilea) in Paris. What he remembers perfectly is his voice "so incredible": "His voice was unique, it could not be compared with anyone, with a unique timbre. He had a capacity to join phrases, one after the other, that you said: 'Montserrat, when are you going to breathe? ".

Even though they had not been singing together for many years – "The world of opera is like that, sometimes you meet five times in a year, and then you do not see yourself for 10 years" – he remembers all the years in which his careers were growing together, the aids, the mask dances, the African in all the times they agreed – "especially in Liceo [de Barcelona], but also in the Metropolitan of New York "- and in those that were" afternoons of success and of being proud to take the name of Spain for other countries ".

The musician says goodbye reiterating his surprise – "The years pass and we all have some health issues, logical with age, but the truth is that you do not expect it" – and his sadness, and announcing that he will call Caballé's family in how much is done during the day (this conversation occurs when it is close to one in the morning in Los Angeles). "I will convey the sadness and pain of my family," he announces.


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