Opera icon Montserrat Caballe, who duetted with Freddie Mercury on Barcelona, dies

Carla Harmon
October 7, 2018

Hospital Sant Pau spokesman Abraham del Moral confirmed Caballe's death to the Associated Press.

The Spanish soprano, who was born in the Catalan capital, had been in ill health for a number of years and was admitted to hospital in mid-September, a hospital official said.

Caballe's family has reportedly requested the cause of death not be released, though revealed she had been in hospital since last month.

The funeral will be held next Monday at noon at Les Corts in Barcelona, while the wake will be on Sunday from 2pm CET in the same neighbourhood.

Known for her tone, stunning control, and ability to master new parts, Caballe gained popularity for her down-to-earth personality and light-hearted demeanor.

Spanish President Pedro Sanchez paid tribute to Caballé on Saturday, saying on Twitter that Spain had lost "a great ambassador of our country, a soprano recognised internationally". She was particularly admired for her purity of voice, vocal shadings and exquisite pianissimos.

"Her loss leaves a huge void", he said.

Her career spanned 50 years.

She first made a global splash when "Barcelona", her song with Queen singer Freddie Mercury, became the anthem for the 1992 Olympic Games.

Her performance that night catapulted her the world stardom throughout the opera scene.

She had stints with the Basel Opera and Bremen Opera before her worldwide breakthrough in 1965 in Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall in NY.

In 2015, Caballe was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for tax fraud.

She was admired around the world for her versatility and as one of the greatest opera stars to have graced the stage.

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