Saturday, 6 October 2018

I lived for art, I lived for love, I never did harm to a living soul

Just woke up from a long lie-in to the sad news that one of our favourite operatic voices, the lovely Montserrat Caballé is dead.

Needless to say, we adored her, and indeed "La Superba" was an "exhibit" in the Dolores Delargo Towers Museum of Camp back in 2014. It is a pity that the media can only bring itself to mention her as being famous for her (brilliant, admittedly) duet with the late, great Freddie Mercury, but such is the state of today's "culture", I suppose:

There is so much more in Señorita Caballé's immense back catalogue to explore. In my tribute to the lady earlier this year on the occasion of her 85th birthday, I featured her masterful performances of works by Donizetti, Verdi and Bizet. Here she is with probably the most beautiful performance ever of this famous aria from Puccini's Tosca:

Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore,
non feci mai male ad anima viva!
Con man furtiva
quante miserie conobbi aiutai.

Which, in translation, serves as a fitting tribute to its singer:

I lived for art, I lived for love
I never did harm to a living soul
With a furtive hand
so many troubles I encountered I soothed

Brings tears to the eye. As does this - her surprising choice to cover an 80s "modern classic" by fellow Spaniards Mecano:

...and finally, the gran dama at her glittering peak, with this performance from Donizetti's Guillaume Tell:

It's becoming a bad year for divas (we lost María Dolores Pradera - as featured here way back in 2009(!) - in May; and, from different genres, admittedly, Morgana King in March, Liliane Montevecchi in June, Cats choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne in July, and (of course) Aretha Franklin in August), but for me, the passing of Montserrat Caballé is the saddest loss of all...

RIP Maria de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé i Folch (12th April 1933 – 6th October 2018)


  1. RIP
    I do love that Freddie Mercury duet though.

  2. Vissi D'Arte is even more beautiful and mellow when sung by Monserrat Caballé. I'd never heard Hijo de la Luna before - it's lovely! A great loss, indeed.

    There are not many divas left - I won't be able to go on if we lose Margarita Pracatan!

    1. No idea how old Senorita Pracatan actually is - but there are plenty of really old divas still left. Miss DeHavilland aside (I'm beginning to suspect she'll live forever!), Carol Channing is 97, Doris Day and Betty White are 96, Glynis Johns is 95, Eva Marie Saint and Arlene Dahl are both 94, Angela Lansbury and June Whitfield are 92, and both Leontyne Price and Gina Lollobrigida are 91... Jx

  3. Replies
    1. Even Queen Sophia turned out for her funeral - a great loss indeed. Jx


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