Spanish opera star Montserrat Caballe dies at age 85

The Spanish soprano, who brought opera to the pop charts with hit 'Barcelona', had been in ill health for a number of years.
Montserrat Caballe's duet with Freddie Mercury became the anthem for the 1992 Olympic Games and propelled her into the mainstream.
Montserrat Caballe's duet with Freddie Mercury became the anthem for the 1992 Olympic Games and propelled her into the mainstream.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID • Spain's world-famous opera singer Montserrat Caballe, known for her velvet-edged voice and radical rock duet with Queen singer Freddie Mercury, has died in Barcelona at the age of 85.

Hailed as one of the world's greatest singers for her vocal virtuosity and dramatic powers, Caballe charmed audiences for half a century with a huge repertoire that saw her perform across the globe.

The Spanish soprano was already considered an opera great when her duet with Mercury, a boundary-busting combination of opera and rock, became the anthem for the 1992 Olympic Games and propelled her into the mainstream.

Caballe's daughter with her husband, Spanish tenor Bernabe Marti, whom she married in 1964, is also a soprano.

Retired for several years because of health problems, the soprano was hospitalised in mid-September due to a gall bladder problem, local media reported.

"She died overnight at the Sant Pau hospital," a hospital source told the Agence France-Presse yesterday.

A service for the singer will be held today, with a funeral tomorrow, the Barcelona authorities said.

"Montserrat Caballe, her voice and her tenderness, will always stay with us," said Spanish leader Pedro Sanchez on Twitter.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 07, 2018, with the headline 'Spanish opera star Montserrat Caballe dies at age 85'. Print Edition | Subscribe