In Loving Memory of Montserrat Caballé - Josep Carreras: "Nobody could sing like her"

When you read that Montserrat Caballé has died, you can't be just saddened by such news. It's far more complicated. You suddenly realise that nothing will be the same anymore. I mean, times had already changed since many years, probably even decades. However, today marks a further, definitive change, nothing will be the same ever again.

Montserrat Caballé passed away yesterday, and the Opera world has lost not only one of the greatest artist ever, not only a unique diva, not only one of the most amazing, divine voices ever. Opera has lost a huge part of what it is, of what we mean it and how we feel it. Most probably, the most talented and deservedly admired soprano of history, together with Maria Callas.

She was one of a kind, we will miss her forever.

This is not the right place for an exhaustive recap of her glorious career, nor to provided a proper description her voice, nor to try to explain why it was so extraordinary.

Josep Carreras has shared his point of view though, and is opinion is eminent enough to do it, not only because of the hundreds times he shared the stage with her, but primarily for the reasons why she had believed so much in his talent from the very beginning.



Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras. Andrea Chénier. Finale. Metropolitan Opera, 1985.

Shortly after the news of her passing was announced, a deeply sad Josep Carreras talked through Catalunya Ràdio, and admitted that it was one of the saddest news he could ever receive.
"Montserrat Caballé was a very vital and sensitive woman. None of the sopranos I have listened to live at the opera house could sing like her. And if we talk about recordings, probably the only one she could be up to her level was Maria Callas".

Then, he has highlighted the quality of her voice, the beauty of its color, her exceptional technique, and interpretive skills, which allowed her to sing afford the purest belcanto, that is composers like Bellini or Donizetti, as well as Wagnerian works, such as 'Tristan and Isolde'.

After that, the tenor emphasized her caring behaviour towards him, and how much she had supported him at the beginning of his career, not only believing in his talent but also through important advices.

Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras. Norma. Gran Teatre del Liceu, 1970
Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras. Lucrezia Borgia. Gran Teatre del Liceu, 1970.

Among his dearest memories with her, the opening of the Season 1973/73 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, on occasion of the 125th anniversary of the opera house in Barcelona. The work was Adriana Lecouvreur.

Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras. Adriana Lecouvreur. Metropolitan Opera, 1978.

Finally, he lamented that, as far from the operatic field, Catalonia's greatest heritage has gone, and that he has lost a dear friend.

Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras. Gran Teatre del Liceu, 2012.
Her funeral has taken place in Barcelona today, 12 pm. Josep Carreras and part of his family participated to the ceremony at the Tanatori de Les Corts, during which Montserrat Caballé's voice could be heard again on four occasions: Schubert's Ave Maria, Haendel's Lascia ch'io pianga, Puccini's O mio babbino caro, and Verdi's La Vergine degli Angeli.

At the end of the ceremony, Josep Carreras had some more words to remember Montserrat Caballé, the unique artist she was and, even more important according to him, the wonderful person she was. Once again he defined her as the soprano of the 20th Century together with Maria Callas, and assured that there will never be another one like her. In particular, he said that she was a very simple, caring woman. She was like a sister to him, she even took care of him sometimes.
After answering to the press, visibly touched, Carreras dearly greeted her family, in particular her husband, tenor Bernabé Martí, and her brother and former manager, Carles Caballé.

VIDEOS (arrival after minute 15:00) (very beginning and from minute 3:25)

Montserrat Caballé will be missed a lot by all those who experienced her artistry live, through video and audio recordings. Most of all, she will be missed forever by those who love OPERA with capital letters, because she marked our way of feeling, experiencing and enjoying it. 

As far from Carreras' fans are concerned, we will miss her for an additional reason. Besides her fundamental role at the beginning of his career, she has shared the stage with him hundreds of times, many of which just marked history. No words can actually and exhaustively express what they could be when they sang together, and how much they admire and love each other. 

They were one of the most beloved couple on stage, and now we feel like orphans in some way. She was just perfect, so authentic. Her laughter was contageous. 
One had the impression that her amazing pianissimos could last forever. And now, for sure, they will.

Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras. Un Ballo in Maschera. Teatro alla Scala, 1975.

Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras. Adriana Lecouvreur. Metropolitan Opera, 1978.
Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras. Hérodiade. Gran Teatre del Liceu, 1984.


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