Barcelona, Oct 6 (IANS) World-renowned Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, who broke the boundaries of classical music by once famously collaborating with rock star Freddie Mercury, died on Saturday in a hospital here at the age of 85, officials said.
Caballé, who had been in the hospital since the middle of September, was considered by many to be one of the great lyrical voices of the 20th century and the most universal of Spanish opera singers.
Montserrat Caballé Folch was born on April 12, 1933, in the Gracia neighbourhood of Barcelona and entered the city’s renowned Liceo Conservatory of Music at the age of 11 to take up a scholarship, Efe news reported.
At the height of her powers, she was compared with stars of the caliber of Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Renata Tebaldi for her vocal quality and technical mastery.
Throughout her more than 50-year career, Caballé performed at hundreds of operas and concerts in major theatres around the world alongside the best orchestras and conductors. She boasted a repertoire that covered nearly 90 roles in more than 40 operas.
Her duet with Queen singer Mercury in the song “Barcelona”, which was originally released in 1987 and later featured at the 1992 Summer Olympics reached number 2 in the United Kingdom charts as well as in the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Caballé’s funeral will take place on Monday in her native city of Barcelona.
Her extraordinary voice enabled her to perform “La serva padrona” (The Servant Turned Mistress) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 – 1736), “Cossi fan tutte” (Mozart), “Norma” and “I puritani” (Bellini) on some of the most important stages in the world.
Her Verdi repertoire included “Il trovatore”, “La Traviata”, “Un ballo in Maschera” and “Aida”.
She also performed the role of heroines like “Isolde” and “Sieglinde ” by Wagner, as well as in Puccini’s quartet “Tosca,” “la Boheme,” “Madame Butterfly” and “Turandot”.
She won a Grammy and was awarded the Prince of Asturias for the Arts in 1991, the greatest distinction granted in Spain.