Montserrat opera singer: Montserrat Caballé | Spanish opera singer

Montserrat Caballé | Spanish opera singer

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Montserrat Caballe: Why Google honours her today | Arts and Culture News

Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe, also known as “La Superba”, was born 89 years ago on Tuesday.

She was widely celebrated for her distinctive bel canto vocal technique and was also recognised for taking opera into the pop charts by singing with Queen singer Freddie Mercury.

Spain’s King Felipe VI called her “the great lady of opera, legend of universal culture, the best of the best”.

In her honour, Google changed its logo in six countries. This is her story:

Depression, and the Spanish Civil War

Maria de Montserrat Viviana Concepcion Caballe was born in Barcelona on April 12, 1933.

Her formerly middle-class family struggled financially during the 1930s Depression and Spanish Civil War.

“Despite the civil war and the difficult post-war period when you never knew where the next crust of bread was coming from, [my parents] were always happy and optimistic,” Caballe later told Serafin Garcia Ibanez in the UNESCO Courier.

They also appreciated classical music. Carles Caballe i Borras and his wife, Anna Folch, often listened to their opera collection in front of young Caballe, who showed great talent in music.

At the age of 13, Caballe’s parents managed to enrol her in the Conservatorio del Liceo.

She trained with Eugenia Kemeny who taught students breath training. Due to this training, the opera singer later said she maintained a long career without deterioration in her vocal quality.

Caballe also studied under the conservatory’s musical director, Napoleone Annovazzi, and later delved into Spanish song literature.

She graduated aged 20 and started auditioning for opera productions in Italy.

#Undíacomohoy (1933) nace en Barcelona la soprano Montserrat Caballé. Tienes que verla en todo su esplendor. Aquí, en ‘María Stuarda’, una ópera que disfrutamos en 1979 👉 #FelizMartes #BuenosDías #12Abril

— Archivo RTVE (@ArchivoRTVE) April 12, 2022

Translation: On a day like today, the soprano Montserrat Caballe was born in Barcelona. You have to watch in all her splendour here, in María Stuarda, an opera that we enjoyed in 1979,” Spanish agency RTVE tweeted on Tuesday.

Natural skill

After not landing any roles in Italy, she focused her efforts in Switzerland. There, she found a role with the Basel Opera, and in the following years, she began to perform around Europe, singing the parts of more than 40 roles from the late 1950s to the early 1960s.

In 1964, the singer married Spanish tenor Bernabe Marti. They had two children, Montserrat Marti and Bernabe Marti.

Wider international recognition came in 1965 when she performed in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall in New York. The performance, a complete success, led to her debut that same year at the Metropolitan Opera, as Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust.

Cabelle’s natural ability to sing in multiple styles opened different doors and exposed her to a variety of audiences. Another key moment in her career came in 1987, when she and her close friend Mercury recorded Barcelona, the eventual anthem for the 1992 Olympic Games in the Spanish city.

“Barcelona”was the second solo album of Freddie released in 1987 with the opera singer Spanish Montserrat Caballé. 😍#TheGoldenBoy #Barcelona #FreddieMercury #MontserratCaballe

— S Ξ V (@S3V_B) July 31, 2019

Cabelle faced many health challenges throughout her career, including a benign brain tumour, a heart attack and phlebitis. Those conditions led to her cancelling her performances several times.

“I cancel when I am sick,” she told The Chicago Tribune in 1995. “I have had seven major surgeries in my life. I have had tumours. I have had two children with caesareans; you don’t just get up and sing the day after one of those. I was in an accident in 1969 in New York that required surgery and took four months for me to recover. I don’t cancel because of temperament.”

In 2015, she was convicted of tax fraud and she faced a suspended sentence of six months, and a fine of 250,000 euros ($278,000) for having claimed a residence in Andorra.

She died in Barcelona at the age of 85.

“A great ambassador of our country dies, an opera soprano recognised internationally,” Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said at the time. “Her voice and her kindness will always remain with us.”

11 interesting facts about Montserrat Caballe

Montserrat Caballe , or, according to the full version of her name, Maria Montserrat Viviana Conception Caballé i Folch (Maria Montserrat Viviana Conception Caballé i Folch – cat.) –
a native of Barcelona, ​​a world-famous opera singer, famous for her inimitable, one-of-a-kind bel canto technique and for her roles in classical Italian operas
Bellini, Donizetti and Puccini.

And yet – she wrote a glorious page in the world of rock music, at 19In 88, together with Freddie Mercury, he recorded the album “Barcelona”. And yet … – but let’s talk about everything in order. In this article, we will remember
interesting facts and key milestones in the life and career of the incomparable Montserrat Caballe. So let’s go!

Yes, today all the children of the oligarchs, who have made their way to the big stage at the expense of parental funds and connections, like to say that they were born almost under the fence and achieved everything “themselves” – however, in the case of
Montserrat was just like that. Montserrat Caballe was born on April 12, 1933 in the Barcelona district of Gracia, which in that pre-war period was the most proletarian.

Montserrat’s father, Carlos, and mother Ana were indeed at the very bottom of the social ladder, which in most cases meant that Montserrat had to stay there and drag out the same
poor existence – if not for a few “buts”. Firstly, Montserrat’s mother, having immediately noticed her daughter’s ability to sing, tried to teach her the little in music that she herself knew.

And secondly, Montserrat, thanks to a happy accident, managed to catch the eye of a wealthy Barcelona family that did not shy away from patronage. These people (Bertrand y Mata family)
agreed to pay for the girl’s education at the Conservatory at the Liceu Opera House, where Montserrat entered at the age of 11.

Montserrat Caballe got its name in honor of the main shrine of Catalonia – the miraculous image of the Madonna of Montserrat, stored in a mountain monastery 50 km from Barcelona.

There is nothing surprising in this – Montserrat is still the most popular name among Catalan girls. It is believed that a girl named by this name will live a long and happy life.
life – after all, she will be under the auspices of the Montserrat Madonna, who, by the way, is the official patroness of all Catalonia.

Well, as we see, in this particular case (as in most others), the intercession and patronage of the Virgin of Montserrat helped – you can hardly call the life of Montserrat Caballe uninteresting!


The first performance of Montserrat with a solo part took place in 1955 in the Catalan city of Reus, where, by the way, another famous Catalan was born – Antonio Gaudi Montserrat soloed in Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s opera “Maid-Maid” on the stage of the Reus Teatro Fortuny, and ten days
performed in Valencia.

Montserrat’s professional career also, contrary to expectations, did not start in Barcelona. From 19For 56 years, Caballe sang at the opera in Basel, then in Bremen, and only in 1962 returned to Barcelona, ​​where 7
January 1962 she made her debut on the stage of Barcelona’s Liceo Opera House.

Yes, Montserrat Caballe had the classic look of an “opera diva” – that is, she was frankly a plump woman. With a height of only 161 cm, the entire native of Barcelona greatly went off scale over 100 kg – however
there was a tragic reason for this.

In her youth, the singer received a head injury in an accident, as a result of which she had a damaged part of the brain responsible for metabolism.

In just a year after the ill-fated road accident, Montserrat gained more than 50 kg – and could not return to normal weight until her death.

The eccentric and unpredictable nature of opera divas is well known. Often they behave in a highly unbalanced manner, putting the men nearby in serious danger. However, in the case
with Montserrat Caballe, this principle did not work.

August 14, 1964 Montserrat Caballe married tenor Bernabe Marti, originally from Aragon – and lived with him a lifetime. In this marriage, the musical couple had two children: son Bernabe (1966) and
daughter Montserrat (1972), who also became an opera singer.

Of course, for more than 50 years of marriage, anything has happened between the spouses – however, these strife can be called a “storm in a teacup”, completely unable to affect the whole sea of ​​​​love and
mutual respect in which these two existed.

Perhaps the most important misconduct in all the years of their life together Montserrat committed on the wedding day, which took place in the Catalan monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat : the singer managed to be late for her own wedding in the most natural way!

However, it is difficult to blame her for this: the Montserrat monastery is located in the middle of the mountain, and the car rented by Montserrat Caballe simply could not make it through the mountain serpentine. One can imagine
imagine how tormented the groom was, suspecting that the bride had run away from the crown, and what confusion reigned in the ranks of the guests gathered in the church!

Nevertheless, albeit with a significant delay, albeit in a car for transporting pigs, Montserrat nevertheless reached the sacred monastery – and the marriage in heaven was concluded, being on
surprise durable.

Montserrat Caballe and Bernabé Marty in front of the image of the Black Madonna

… And it came, one might say, thanks to chance. The American singer Marilyn Horne, who performed the part of Lucrezia Borgia in the opera of the same name by Gaetano Donizetti, fell ill. invited to replace
Montserrat Caballe, and this performance at Carnegie Hall on April 20, 1965, was a real turning point in the career of the Catalan soprano.

The audience, dumbfounded by what they heard, jumped to their feet and gave Montserrat a 20-minute standing ovation. The New York Times immediately published a laudatory article entitled “Kallas + Tebaldi = Caballe”,
where, in particular, the following lines were contained:

“Miss Caballe was enough to sing the first romance … and it became clear that she not only has a clear and beautiful voice, but also has excellent vocal skills … She can soar on
pianissimo in the highest register, with full control of every note, and at the highest volume the voice does not lose clarity and contour precision…”

Ah, this United States – the world’s forge of stars of the first magnitude! The further career of Montserrat Caballe was like a wonderful dream: the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Covent Garden … Incredible
Montserrat Caballe’s successful creative career lasted more than half a century – during this time the singer performed 88 roles and her own 800 chamber works.

Montserrat Caballe was not indifferent to painting – and how, in fact, could it be otherwise if she was born in a city with which the names of Mariano Fortunya, Santiago Rusinol, Pablo are inextricably linked
Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali?

Barcelona is a city of artists, and Montserrat, a native of it, has absorbed the love of painting since her childhood. A successful and rich career as a singer did not allow her to develop this facet of her talent to
professional level – however, every time, going on tour, the singer took drawing supplies with her and made sketches – most often from the window of her hotel room.

More than once she was offered to arrange an exhibition of these “road sketches” – however, with her usual modesty, Montserrat refused.


Opera is, of course, good, and Montserrat Caballe in relation to opera is even wonderful! However, we, simple lovers of rock music, remember Montserrat, first of all, for its collaboration with one
one of the best vocalists in the history of rock – Freddie Mercury!

In 1988, Montserrat Caballe, together with Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury, released the album “Barcelona”. The main song of the album, dedicated, of course, to Barcelona was one of the two official songs of the 1992 Summer Olympics held in the Catalan capital. It was planned that Caballe and
Mercury will perform the song live at the opening ceremony, but 9 months before that, in November 1991, Freddie, to the greatest regret, passed away, and the song was recorded.

It all started in 1983, when at the London Royal Opera House, Freddie Mercury heard Barcelona-born Montserrat Caballé sing in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. Actually, for this show
Mercury went with a specific purpose: to hear from his idol Luciano Pavarotti.

However, when Caballe, known for her magnificent bel canto, appeared on the stage in the second act and sang, Mercury, in his own words, instantly turned cold with delight and all the while
Montserrat sang, sat motionless and breathless. He completely forgot about Pavarotti – the rock musician was so struck by the performance of Montserrat Caballe… read the full article about Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe

Yes, throughout her life and especially in her mature years, Montserrat had a keen interest in football. And how, in fact, could it be otherwise if she was born in the city that gave the world one
of the most successful football teams – FC Barcelona!?

In terms of personal preferences, Montserrat was not original – she admired Messi’s game, bluntly stating that she saw him not as an ordinary mortal, but as a superman, specially created
higher powers in order to play football, raising the game to a whole new level.

Well, that’s what it was. True today (2022), Messi, like Montserrat Caballe, alas, is not with us. The great football player, fortunately, is alive – however, as you know, he plays for another team.

The health problems that plagued the singer over the last twenty years of her life were exacerbated by “frictions” with Spanish legislation. In 2010, Montserrat Caballe was accused of non-payment
over half a million euros in taxes, and at the end of December 2014, a Barcelona court sentenced Montserrat Caballe to six months in prison for fraud.

Caballe was accused of tax evasion as an individual in 2010 to the Spanish treasury. Formally, Montserrat Caballe was listed as a resident of neighboring Catalonia Andorra , which allowed her not to pay taxes in Spain if he was in the territory of Cloroy for less than 183 days. However, the prosecutor’s office found
that the singer used her alleged “residence” in Andorra for the sole purpose of avoiding paying taxes, although she actually lived in Barcelona.

Montserrat was serving her sentence on probation. The singer pleaded guilty – she was not personally present in the meeting room, but gave evidence via video link, citing poor health. Except
In addition, the court ordered the 82-year-old singer to pay a fine of 254,231 euros, as well as another 72,000 euros as interest on late payments.

Montserrat Caballe passed away at the age of 85 on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at the Hospital of the Holy Cross and St. Paul in Barcelona, ​​where she was again admitted due to problems with her gallbladder.
bubble that has escalated significantly in recent years.

The funeral ceremony was attended by relatives of Montserrat Caballe, Queen Sofia, Pedro Sanchez (head of Spain), Kim Torra (President of Catalonia), Pablo Casado (leader of the PP), Ada Colau (sad
the famous “Alcaldessa”, i.e. mayor of Barcelona) and many other “officials” of lesser rank.

Pedro Carlos, the singer’s otolaryngologist, said during a performance that one day, already close to death, Montserrat told him:

– You know, I’m still not sure that I’ll go to heaven! To which Carlos replied:

-Considering how many times in your career you had to sing “Ave Maria”, you can be sure: in heaven a great place has already been prepared for you for a long time!

We also have no doubt that Montserrat is now in paradise – in whatever form it may exist. For many years, Montserrat Caballe gave millions of people with her divine singing
exceptionally positive emotions – and certainly deserved a place of honor in Eden!




Montserrat, but not Caballe – GOODBYE OFFICE

Many people associate the word “Montserrat” with the opera singer Montserrat Caballe, but not everyone knows that the Spanish diva was named so for a reason. In Catalonia there is a “jagged” mountain, which the people of Spain are very proud of. What is so special about her? Let’s figure it out.

Montserrat is located 50 kilometers from Barcelona. Its name means “cut mountain” in Catalan. This name is really speaking, because the outlines of the mountain are quite bizarre. It offers a breathtaking view of the landscapes of Spain: the Mediterranean Sea, the Pyrenees and even Mallorca at a glance.

Birth of Montserrat

Montserrat was formed a very, very long time ago. When Catalonia did not yet exist, in its place was the sea. But one day the seabed reared up and turned into a large Pyrenean range. However, Montserrat wanted to be an independent part and decided to break away from the main mountain, settling apart.

Montserrat itself is small, it captures the attention of tourists not by its size, but by something else. And no wonder it is one of the most visited hills in the world!

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The appearance of Montserrat

Montserrat attracts attention with its unusual appearance: it consists of large bald rocks, similar to idols painted with patterns. The peaks are covered with lush vegetation: Aleppo pines, chestnuts, oaks. There are a number of legends about how Montserrat acquired its unusual appearance. One of them says that this is all the work of restless angels. They frolicked on Montserrat and, out of boredom, divided it in half, and made sculptures out of stones. And after all rocks really remind uncomplicated figures! Each has its own name: “Camel”, “Elephant’s Head”, “The Face of the Holy Virgin”, “God’s Ring”, etc.

Beautiful hills attract not only curious tourists, but also artists, poets, who admire the picturesque figures and glorify them in their works.

On a sunny day, the mountain can be seen from a distance, but on cloudy days, the clouds carefully hide the hill in the fog. Sometimes it seems that they just sit on the mountain to rest a little.

Monastery in the sky

On the slope of Montserrat is located the monastery of the same name. Interestingly, Catalonia is the most atheistic region of Spain and services in local churches are held very rarely. But Montserrat is one of the few monasteries where work is carried out daily. A large number of pilgrims are attracted here.

The Benedictine monastery was built ten centuries ago by the famous abbot Oliba of Ripolsky. Now about a hundred monks live there, spending time in prayer and working for the benefit of the monastery.

The centerpiece of the complex is a large Gothic Renaissance cathedral. Unfortunately, the monastery was repeatedly destroyed. The most deplorable of them were inflicted by Napoleon’s troops.

Ruins covered the mountain for several decades, but in the 19th century the Benedictine Order, with the help of the Catalan people, began to restore the religious complex. For local people, Montserrat is a symbol of their homeland, so they could not just give up everything. Even during the reign of Francisco Franco, when the Catalan language was banned, services were held in Montserrat in it.

Slowly but surely the buildings were restored. The final work was completed in the 20th century. Great people of that time also had a hand in the reconstruction of the monastery, including Antonio Gaudi – he participated in the design of the altar.

Black Virgin Mary

The main attraction of the monastery is the statue of the miraculous Virgin Mary of Montserrat. Catholics believe that the shrine fulfills wishes: it helps to find family happiness, love, health, success at work, etc. And apparently, they are coming true! People return to the monastery with gifts for Morenera, as the Catalans affectionately call the swarthy Madonna. In a special room for symbols of dreams come true, there are especially many wedding attributes and children’s things.

If you want to ask the Virgin Mary for help, it is better to formulate all your wishes in advance. This can be done while standing in a long line. A guard is on duty near Morenera, who urges slow pilgrims so that everyone can talk to the statue. You can only touch Madonna’s hand, this is the only part of her body that is not hidden behind bulletproof glass.

The current sculpture, according to researchers, dates back to the 12th century. This is because the original statue has not been preserved. But despite this circumstance, the desires of believers are still fulfilled. And this is not surprising, because for many centuries prayers have been read here daily.

Napoleon was also interested in the greatness of the Black Maiden. The Frenchman was sure that the shrine would protect him from adversity, so his troops visited Montserrat to kidnap the Madonna. But the monks hid the Virgin in time in a very safe place. The soldiers were never able to get it.

It is believed that the statue of the Madonna was brought by the Apostle Peter from Jerusalem, where it was created. In the 13th century, Morenera was found by Saint Luke. During the invasion of the Arabs, he hid the statue from enemies in a mountain cave, and a century later, according to legend, it was found by shepherd children. They saw a bright light from the sky in the mountains and heard the singing of angels. The children told their parents about this, and then the news of the deity reached the priests, who, in turn, built a chapel here.

But initially they wanted to take the dark-skinned woman out and install it in a large Catholic church. However, when they tried to move Morenera from the mountain, she became very heavy, not yielding to the forces of the priests, who took this as a sign and left the Madonna on Montserrat.

Now the Black Maiden is in the throne room of the Renaissance cathedral.

Why is Madonna black and does it have something to do with her nationality? In fact, she became dark-skinned because of her age. In a small Christian basilica, in which Morenera was kept for the first time, soot from candles settled on many objects. For a statue made of wood, this was a verdict, because it is impossible to wash blackness out of wood.

In the 19th century, the Pope named Mary of Montserrat the patroness of Catalonia. She is so revered by the locals that many call their daughters by the name of Montserrat, the famous opera singer Montserrat Caballe is one of them.

The famous choir

Montserrat is famous for its music school founded in the 13th century. It is considered one of the oldest in the world. The famous boys’ choir is trained here, touring with their performances all over the planet.

Every day, singers perform at the services – at one o’clock in the afternoon they sing “Virolai de Montserrat” – a hymn to the Virgin Mary, and at seven o’clock in the evening – the song “Salve Regina”. They take part in liturgies, prayers and solemn services.

Getting into Escolania de Montserrat is not easy – the boys are carefully selected. The main thing is that they must be musically gifted, only then the teachers will take them to their place for training and education. Each graduate leaves the school as an outstanding musician.

Celestial Museum

Montserrat is famous for its collection of rarities. The monastery has a large library, which collected books, manuscripts and manuscripts from the 14th century. But it’s hard to get there. To do this, first of all, you need to be a man, and not an ordinary one, but an outstanding scientist, known to the whole world!

But the museum is available to a wide range of viewers. The collection here is extensive and rich. In addition to ancient objects from excavations and icons, you will come across paintings by El Greco, Caravaggio, Monet, Picasso, Dali and many other famous artists. Also, the museum often hosts exhibitions of local monks. Here are jewelry, objects of cultures of the Middle East, sculptures. One of the halls is entirely devoted to works with Morenera.

Mountain trails

Montserrat is not only a mountain and a monastery ensemble. About 30 years ago the complex was declared a national park-reserve. There are several picturesque and interesting routes along which you can walk or ride the funiculars.

One of the routes leads to the cave where Morenera was found. Along the way, you will come across many sculptures that tell about the life of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, and when you get to the grotto, you will see a copy of the Black Madonna there.

The Way of Saint Michael is another interesting route. This is the path to the cross of the patron saint of the mountain. It leads to one of the hills of Montserrat, on which rises a majestic cross. There is also an observation deck that opens a panorama of the entire monastery complex and mountain ranges.

You can walk here endlessly, because the number of routes is huge.