Montserrat Caballé (born April 12, 1933) is a Catalán operatic singer. She is a soprano. She is best known for her execution of "bel canto" singing style. She is particularly admired for singing the works of Gioachino Rossini, Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Giuseppe Verdi.


Caballé was born Maria de Montserrat Viviana Concepcion Caballe i Folch in Barcelona. She first learned to sing at her convent school and later attended the Liceu Conservatory of Barcelona, where she studied under Eugenia Kenny, Conchita Badea, and Napoleone Annovazzi. She won the school's Gold Medal upon graduation.


Montserrat Caballé at Aix en Provence Festival in 1980 : Sémiramide from Rossini.

After debuting professionally in Madrid in 1956 when she performed El Pesebre by Pau Casals, she moved to Italy. During her stint doing small roles at various opera houses, a principal singer who was to playing the role of Mimi in Puccini's La Boheme became ill. Caballé stepped up to take her place. Her extraordinary performance led to a few star roles. Following this, she returned to the Liceu to appear in the title role in Strauss' Arabella.




  became internationally known when she performed at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1965. She was substituting for Marilyn Horn in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia. This was her first bel canto performance.





Throughout the 1960s and 70s she sang in a number of operas in the United States and Russia including Roberto Devereux, Andrea Chénier, Madama Butterfly, and perhaps most importantly, Bellini's Norma. She recorded the title role for Norma in 1972 with RCA Red Seal.







In 1964, she married Spanish tenor Bernabe Marti. They have two children.


She continued performing throughout the 1980s, especially at the Met. Rock legend Freddie Mercury had an intense admiration for her, so much so that he flew all the way to Barcelona in 1987 to play her a few tapes he had made just to see if she would perform them. The two went on to record "Barcelona," a song Mercury had written for her, and it became a hit single in 1988.



A rare interview with Freddie Mercury and Caballé



During the last two decades, she has continued to perform, and has received many awards including the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. She founded a vocal competition in Andorra in 1997, where she also conducts master classes.


Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Saturday, 12 April 2014
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