Saturday, 12 April 2014
“No amount of advance publicity could have foretold the extraordinary impact that this stately Goya-esque woman would have on an audience already spoiled by the likes of Callas and Sutherland. When Caballé began her first aria, there was a perceptible change in the atmosphere. It seemed for a moment that everyone had stopped breathing”. - New York Herald Tribune, 1965.
Montserrat Caballé, whose birthday it is today, is a rare beast in the operatic world. Not a diva known for hissy fits and impossible demands, she is loved as much for her warm personality as she is for her beautiful bel canto vocals - performing over the years possibly the definitive versions of works by Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi.
Unfortunately forever nowadays associated with one song - Barcelona with Freddie Mercury - despite a six-decade career at the top of the classical pantheon, she is still active in the operatic world as founder of a major vocal festival and competition in the Principality of Andorra, the Concurs Internacional de Cant Montserrat Caballé.
Here she is in an utterly sublime moment, with her flawless rendition of Casta Diva (from Bellini's Norma):
Feliz cumpleaños, Señorita Maria de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé i Folch (born 12th April 1933)