Catalan soprano Montserrat Caballé, on 3 January 2012, commemorating her debut at Gran Teatre del Liceu fifty years before. Tenor Josep Carreras, baritones Carlos Álvarez and Joan Pons, and Caballé’s daughter and soprano Montserrat Martí participated in the tribute, which took the form of an exhibition and concert. Photo credits: EFE/Andreu Dalmau.

Los cantantes líricos Plácido Domingo, Teresa Berganza, Montserrat Caballé, Jaume Aragall y Josep Carreras (i-d) participan en la ceremonia inaugural de los Juegos Olímpicos Barcelona'92, celebrada en el Estadio Olímpico de Montjuic. EFE/yv

Spain bids farewell to Montserrat Caballé, immense soprano and ambassador of Marca España

Spain says goodbye to Barcelona-born soprano Montserrat Caballé, who died this past weekend. Internationally acclaimed, she was one of the greatest ambassadors of our culture.

An irreplaceable artist, Monsterrat Caballé died on Saturday in Barcelona. Since her death was announced, Spanish political and cultural figures, sportspeople as well as the general public have praised the great diva.

Gran Teatre del Liceu Foundation’s President, Salvador Alemany, said the opera house in Barcelona ‘would not have come to be what it is today without “la Caballé".’ In the words of the conductor of the Liceu Orchestra , Josep Pons, she was at the ‘summit of the operatic world.’ ‘Without a doubt, she will stand forever among the top ten singers of all time,’ he added.

Fellow artists like the tenor Plácido Domingo published ‘thank you for your amazing voice, your talent, and what a privilege it has been to have shared the stage with you.’ Josep Carreras said, ‘Montserrat Caballé was a very vital and sensitive woman. Of all the sopranos I have listened to live at the opera house, I have never heard anyone singing like her.’ Ainhoa Arteta described the Catalan soprano as ‘an international queen of opera, a great mother, woman, and artist.’ ‘She took the name of Spain around the world as anyone else. She ensured respect for our country,’ she concluded.

Ms Caballé has been praised in Spain and beyond Spanish borders. In an online article, the writer said the Royal Opera House in London was ‘saddened’ by the death of Montserrat Caballé,’ the opera singer ‘who inspired millions’. The Opera Director of the Royal Opera said, ‘her impassioned delivery and unique stage personality left an indelible impression on all who saw and heard her. She will be much missed’.  Teatro alla Scala shared a picture of Montserrat Caballé on Facebook. The picture shows her on the stage getting a standing ovation from the audience in Milan, where she had played Anne Boleyn, Lucrezia Borgia or Norma. The New York Times highlighted the ‘purity of her voice, the sweeping breadth of her repertory, and the delirious adulation of her fans.’ According to the American newspaper, Ms Caballé ‘was one of the sublime representatives of a type of diva most often associated with a bygone, golden era: smoulderingly regal, seemingly inscrutable, a larger-than-life presence accorded godlike status by her reverential public.’

Considered to be one of the foremost opera singers of the twentieth century and the greatest from Spain, Ms Caballé performed at the leading opera houses around the world, where she sang alongside the best orchestras and singers, starring in 90 opera roles during her 50-year career.

The unique Catalan soprano reached a wider audience singing popular and pop music songs. Her duet with Freddie Mercury, ‘Barcelona’, became a hit single in 1988, and later became the anthem of the 1992 Summer Olympics which was hosted by Caballé's native city.