Montserrat Caballé a world renowned soprano whose career has spanned over fifty years. Her voice is a Spanish national treasure and she is most known for her repertoire of works from the bel canto period of late 17th century Italy, most notably the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi.
She is admired for her remarkable breath control and superb technique along with dramatic persona and grace. Born in Barcelona in 1933 she has continued to perform across the globe gathering a devoted following wherever she is heard. She is known for her angelic pianissimo, a sustained soft note in the upper register, a difficult and essential part of a soprano’s armory.
Montserrat began her studies in the early 1950s at the Conservartorio del Liceo in Barcelona and then debuted in Basel, Switzlerland in 1956, singing the iconic role of Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme. However, it was her performance in 1965, filling in for an ailing Marilyn Horne in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall, that solidified her as a rising and impeccable star. Remarkably she learned the role in less than a month and this was her first engagement in a bel canto opera.
Caballé has ascended to the throne of opera royalty, singing with the greatest of artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carrera. She has said, “I have sung many things with Luciano, and even more with José. But with Plácido I sang everything.”
She is known lovingly as a singer of opera but made a memorable foray into pop music in honor of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics by recording a duet with Freddy Mercury, lead singer of the band Queen. Their performance of “Barcelona” was a global hit and remains popular today.
Montserrat Caballé is truly a treasure of Spain and has given back in many ways. She is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and performs for causes on a global scale. From victims of the Balkan wars to Alzheimer’s patients to children in Africa and Palestine she has given tirelessly and graciously. For her efforts Montserrat was awarded a Dame Commander of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, a Spanish civil order granted in recognition of services benefiting the country. The Order was created in 1815 by King Ferdinand VII of Spain in honor of Queen Isabella of Castile.
Montserrat Caballé is inspired by her home country with its history, fire and grace. Immerse yourself in the culture and heritage that can create such a gift as Montserrat Caballé in a study abroad program from Conexus International. You will see the cities and countryside of Spain and understand how it can inspire and move you. You may find yourself a new devotee of Caballé and an honorary citizen of Spain.
Opera is alive and well in Spain. Just for fun we found a video of an opera flash mob in Pamplona. As you can see opera thrives anywhere!