When you think of Freddie Mercury, what comes to mind? Chances are, it's NOT opera...
For me, it’s the unforgettably flamboyant frontman for the rock band ‘Queen’ who had one of the most beautiful voices in musical history. His four-octave range, unmatched skill in engaging audiences, and genius in mastering any and every music genre, Mercury will go down in history as one of the most unique and memorable talents in EVER.
So what does he have to do with the beloved opera singer Montserrat Caballé, who passed away on October 6th? If you don’t already know, then you will NOT believe it!
New York Times reports, “Montserrat Caballé, the Spanish soprano widely counted among the last of the old-time prima donnas for the transcendent purity of her voice, the sweeping breadth of her repertory and the delirious adulation of her fans, died on Saturday in [her beloved] Barcelona. She was 85."
According to El País, “Mercury had been a huge admirer of Caballé since he saw her perform in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at the London Royal Opera House in 1983. In public, Mercury would state that his favorite singer was 'Montsy,' a special way he had of pronouncing Caballé’s first name."
And the admiration went both ways. Caballe often said that she admired the fact that Freddie sold himself, not his image. “When he sat down at the piano to improvise, I realized that a true musician was before me,” she said. He made such a good impression that she agreed to meet him again at his house in London to record a demo.
So when Monserrat was approached to do the opening for the 1988 Barcelona Olympics, her own brother suggested that she do it as a duet with Mercury. And the result was the hauntingly beautiful 'Barcelona,' a tribute to Caballé's beloved hometown in Spain. But, the duo performing it together at the Olympics was not to be.
"Mercury died eight months before the opening ceremony and was unable to sing Barcelona with Caballé at the special event. Instead, she sang Amigos Para Siempre (Friends Forever) with Spanish tenor José Carreras.
"But a recording of Barcelona was played at the start of the international broadcast of the Olympic opening ceremony, pushing it to second place on the UK charts in 1992. The unlikely but powerful chemistry between Mercury and Montsy (“thanks to me she has become a rocker,” the Queen star joked), left a musical masterpiece that will outlive them both."
Caballé died on Saturday, October 6, 2018, from a gallbladder infection at the age of 85. The world will miss this unmatched talent. But now, she and Freddie can finally perform that bewitching 'Barcelona' duet anytime they want!
Please join us in praying for her family and friends during their time of grief.
We hope you enjoy this unique and unforgettable performance courtesy of the long-gone Freddie Mercury and the recently departed Montserrat Caballé.