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Montserrat Caballé Folch

Montserrat Caballé Folch

Montserrat Caballé Folch (Barcelona, 1933), an opera singer trained in Barcelona, is world-renowned for her lyric soprano voice and her ability to float notes in pianissimo. A specialist in the bel canto repertoire, Caballé is credited with having one of the finest voices in the world, distinguished by vocal quality, breath control and perfect mastery of technique. Sponsored by Manuel Bertrand, Caballé began her musical studies with Eugenia Kemény at the Liceu conservatory in Barcelona, where she obtained the Gold Medal in 1954. She also studied under the Catalan soprano Conxita Badia and the opera director Napoleone Annovazzi. In 1956, she made her official debut in a performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. In the same year, she sang La Bohème to great acclaim, taking the first step in a career that would span the globe. She became a member of the Basel Opera company for three years, finishing her training while performing roles in the major operatic repertoire, such as Strauss’s Salomé, which won her the theatre’s medal in 1959. After a period with the Bremen Opera, where she specialized in bel canto roles, she returned to Barcelona in 1962 and made her debut at the Liceu in the title role of Strauss’s Arabella.

Caballé’s international breakthrough came in 1965, when she performed Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall in New York. Her performance caused a sensation and The New York Times reported that she possessed a voice between Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi.

Caballé has sung more than eighty operatic roles, the greatest in the opera repertoire of the past three centuries, ranging from Baroque operas to Verdi, Wagner and Puccini, including works by Richard Strauss. Her voice is notable for its purity, precise control and power.

Caballé has received numerous tributes and awards, including a Grammy in 1968, the Gold Medal of the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1982, the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 1991 and the National Music Award from the Generalitat in 2005. The general public will forever remember her for sharing the stage with Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, when they performed the song Barcelona at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 1992. In 1998, she received a lifetime achievement award at the Cannes Classical Awards.

Montserrat Caballé has also dedicated herself to various charities. She is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and has created a foundation for needy children in Barcelona


Last update: 2010

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