Regarded as an opera legend, Montserrat Caballé stole the hearts of millions with her incredible vocal prowess and emotive performances.
Her talent and versatility earned her widespread acclaim, including high praise from the iconic Freddie Mercury, who considered her the best voice in the world. Let’s delve into the life and career of this extraordinary artist.
Early Life and Musical Journey #
Born on April 12, 1933, in Barcelona, Spain, Montserrat Caballé discovered her passion for singing at a young age. She received her formal training at the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu, where she honed her skills and developed a deep understanding of music theory.
Caballé’s exceptional vocal range and ability to effortlessly transition between different styles of singing set her apart, solidifying her reputation as a true vocal phenomenon.
Rise to Prominence #
Caballé’s career took off in the late 1950s, as she captivated audiences with her powerful yet nuanced performances in various opera houses across Europe. Her rendition of the iconic aria “Casta Diva” from Bellini’s “Norma” showcased her exceptional interpretative skills and extensive vocal range.
As her fame grew, so did the list of renowned conductors and opera houses eager to collaborate with her.
The Meeting with Freddie Mercury #
It was during the creation of the song “Barcelona” that Caballé crossed paths with the legendary Freddie Mercury, lead vocalist of the rock band Queen.
Their collaboration was a groundbreaking fusion of operatic and rock music, which showcased the remarkable range and versatility of both artists. Mercury, deeply moved by Caballé’s vocal prowess, famously referred to her as “the best voice in the world.”
Musical Legacy and Impact #
Montserrat Caballé’s contributions to the world of music extend far beyond her collaborations with Freddie Mercury.
As Far Out Magazine recalls, Moran gave an interview for the documentary series Finding Freddie and commented, “Fred…was thrilled because Caballé was his absolute idol. But on the other hand, he said, ‘Maybe we don’t get along, I personally don’t know what she’s like.
So we tried to lighten the mood a little bit in case it turned out to be a complete disaster”. Fortunately for the performer, the great chemistry with Caballé carried over to the track and it became yet another anthem in Mercury’s discography.
When Montserrat sang ‘Barcelona’ after her first take, it was the closest I ever saw Freddie come to crying,” Moran recalled. “He was emotional, but he was always in control of his emotions, because he could let them out when performing or writing songs.
He took my hand and said, ‘I’ve got the best voice in the world singing my music!’ He was very euphoric.