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Caballé, Montserrat

Montserrat Caballé (mōnsĕrät´ käbälyā´), 1933–, Spanish soprano, b. Barcelona. After voice study with Eugenia Kemeny and Conchita Badia in Barcelona, she made her operatic debut in Basel, Switzerland, in 1956, singing Mimi in Puccini's La Bohème. She became an overnight success with American audiences in 1965 after singing in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall in New York City. That same year she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Marguerite in Gounod's Faust. Her voice is noted for its purity, precise control, and power. Remarkably active during her long career, Caballé has sung over 80 operatic roles, including the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and the title role in Salomé; recorded more than 30 roles; and sung in all of the world's major opera houses. A superb interpreter of songs, particularly those of her native Spain, she is also noted for her recital performances.

See biography by R. Pullen and S. Taylor (1995).

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Caballé, Montserrat

Caballé, Montserrat (1933– ) Spanish soprano. She made her operatic debut as Mimì in Puccini's La Bohème (1957) at Basle Opera, Switzerland. Her performance (1965) in the title role of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall, New York City, established her reputation as a prima domma. Later that year, Caballé made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Marguerite in Gounod's Faust. A versatile performer, her dramatic power and clear voice also found expression in the operas of Verdi, Rossini, Bellini, Wagner, and Strauss. Her duet with rock singer Freddie Mercury was the anthem of the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

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Caballé, Montserrat

Caballé, Montserrat (b Barcelona, 1933). Sp. soprano. Concert début Barcelona 1954, opera début Basle 1956, First Lady in Die Zauberflöte. La Scala début 1960; Amer. début (Mexico City) 1962; Glyndebourne 1965; NY Met 1965; CG 1972; Salzburg Fest. 1987 (recital).

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Caballé, Montserrat

Caballé, Montserrat

Caballé, Montserrat, celebrated Spanish soprano; b. Barcelona, April 12, 1933. She was a pupil of Eugenia Kemeny, Conchita Badia, and Napoleone Annovazzi at the Barcelona Conservatorio del Liceo; after her graduation in 1953, she made her operatic debut in Reus, near Barcelona, in La Serva padrona. She then sang in Basel (1956–59) and Bremen (1959–62), and also made guest appearances in Vienna as Salome and Donna Elvira (1958), Milan’s La Scala as a Flowermaiden in Parsifal (1960), where she sang major roles from 1969, and Mexico City as Massenet’s Manon (1962). She made a brilliant U.S. debut on April 20, 1965, when she substituted for Marilyn Home in a concert performance of Lucrezia Borgia at N.Y.’s Carnegie Hall. After appearing as the Marschallin and the Countess at the Glynde-bourne Festival (summer 1965), she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. on Dec. 22, 1965, as Gounod’s Marguerite. In subsequent years, she returned to the Metropolitan Opera regularly, eliciting extraordinary praise for such roles as Desdemona, Norma, Violetta, Liù, Mimi, Aida, Adriana Lecouvreur, and Tosca, among others. She also sang with various other opera companies, including debut appearances as Violetta at the Chicago Lyric Opera (1970) and London’s Covent Garden (1972). In addition, she toured extensively as a concert artist. Her performances of operas in concert allowed her to survey not only Wagner but roles seldom heard. On Sept. 24, 1989, she created the role of Queen Isabella in Balada’s Cristóbal Colón in Barcelona, where, in 1992, she also appeared at the opening gala ceremonies at the Olympic Games. The great beauty of Caballé’s voice was ably complemented by an extraordinary vocal technique, one equally suited for the opera house and concert hall. Few singers of her day could match her command of such a large repertory, which ranged from standard to contemporary opera, and from art songs to zarzuela. In 1964 she married the Spanish tenor Bernabé Martí (b. 1934).

Bibliography

R. Pullen and S. Taylor, M.C.: Casta diva (London, 1994).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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