Just as the shirts of great athletes are removed when they hang their boots, well could To withdraw from the repertoire the operas that marked the trajectory of Montserrat Caballé, a versatile soprano whose legacy is divided into pirated versions and of study in the likeness of a testament of universal access. Here are your ten commandments without hierarchical order or dogmatic value.
1.- The Traviata (Verdi) .- The version of the opera recorded in 1967 (RCA) identifies a young Caballé of age but mature in its color and Verdi affinity. He does not make a dramatic or torn reading, but the stylization of his Violetta precipitates an overwhelming reading, more in the second and in the third act than in the first. His "addio al pasato" is a milestone of discography. And the diva accompanies a Carlo Bergonzi in a state of grace with the blessings of Georges Pretre.
2.- Don Carlo (Verdi) .- Caballé told me when I found her for the last time that her favorite tenor was Plácido Domingo. When I did not sing with him. And when I sang with him. He Don Carlo that they conceived together is an event. Particularly the duo of the last act. There is a canonical recording in studio with the baton of Giulini (EMI), but the emotions of the pirate option in Verona with the mediation of Inbal in the pit (Opera d'Oro, 1969) make it an indescribable experience.
3.- Aida (Verdi) .- The Verdian trilogy requires stopping at the qualification of Caballé as one of the great Aidas of the century. The beauty canora stands out as much as the heat that the character incorporates. There is a pirate testimony "charged" in La Scala under the direction of Schippers (Myto). A miracle verified in 1976 of which they were part Carlo Bergonzi, Grace Bumbry, Piero Cappuccilli and Ruggero Raimondi. The version in study with Muti (EMI) resumes his idyll with Plácido Domingo.
4.- Rule (Bellini) .- Maybe Norma is not even Bellini's best opera, but Norma's character is one of the great landmarks of the XIX century. It requires the personality, the style and even the resistance that Caballé gave him in the exegesis of Belcantism. Form and background in a devilish paper that knew how to look in an interesting audiovisual document made in Orange in 1974 (Vai). His partner is the huge Canadian tenor Jon Vickers.
5.- Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti). This opera fetish of the Caballé opened the doors to the world thanks to the replacement of Marilyn Horne at the Carnegie Hall in New York. The testimony of 1965 is available in a pirated edition of the stamp Standing Room Only, although you can also "visit" the studio version that was made with Alfredo Kraus on the RCA label. The one and the other illustrate the virtuosity of the diva. And they expose the miracle of their fiato and their … "filato".
6.- Turandot (Puccini) .- The Caballé was an extraordinary Puccinian performer, although here we do not emphasize her for her role in the main role, but for the delicacy and sensitivity in the "secondary" role of Liu. The recording of Mehta on the Decca label (1972) occupies the shelf of any music lover with discretion. In fact, La Caballé shares a cast with Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti. Caballé would end up playing the role of Turandot, but the dramatic requirements and the extension of the character spoiled the attempt.
7.- Madama Butterfly (Puccini) .- There is a version for fetishists that was conceived in 1968 with the RTVE Orchestra and the direction of Gianfranco Rivoli (Opera D'oro). It is not the best available, but it has an artistic and sentimental interest because it brings the soprano together with her husband, the tenor Bernabé Martí. Just as it happened by the way in a version of Il Pirata that both illuminated for the EMI seal.
8.- Così fan tutte (Mozart) .- The Catalan soprano and the Salzburg composer did not agree too much. There is a version for very coffee growers of his Wedding of Figaro in the Opera of Dallas (1967), but it is much more interesting the work in study of Così fan tutte that he realized under the clairvoyant criterion of Colin Davis with the hosts of Covent Garden and with a cast in which the Cotrubas and Nicolai Gedda shine.
9.- José Carreras.- It is not the title of an opera, but the name of a companion of the trip with which Montserrat Caballé relaunched his career and vice versa. The result of this fabulous relationship is an uneven and versatile catalog that includes Tosca who recorded with Colin Davis, the foray into Rossini's repertoire (Elisabetta), the development of lesser-known Verdi operas (Il Corsaro), the extravagance of Christopher Columbus of Ballad and, of course, the belcantent pairing of Lucia from Lammermoor (Philips) under Lopez Cobos.
10.- Salome (Richard Strauss) .- La Caballé was a Soviet idol and a myth of German culture to which he wanted to correspond with his incursions into the great Central European repertoire. There is a record recorded under the command of Zubin Mehta (CBS) that illustrates his affinity to Wagner, but it is also interesting Salome by Richard Strauss, who he conceived together with maestro Leinsdorf on the RCA label. We observe her in one of her singing, charismatic and expressive peaks.