Montserrat Caballé, world-famous soprano, dies | News | DW | 06.10.2018
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Montserrat Caballé, world-famous soprano, dies

The Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballé has died at the age of 85. She became known to a wider audience after recording a song with Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury.

Montserrat Caballé, the Spanish soprano famous for her interpretation of roles in Verdi operas and the bel canto repertoire, has died in a hospital in Barcelona, aged 85, the clinic said on Saturday.

Caballé, who had had health problems for many years, had a decades-long professional career starting in 1956, when she debuted as Mimi in Puccini's La Bohème in Switzerland.

Montserrat Caballe (Getty Images/E. Auerbach)

Caballé shone in roles such as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata

Her international breakthrough came in 1965 in a performance of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia in New York's Carnegie Hall that made her famous throughout the opera world.

Hit collaboration

In 1987, she released a recording of a duet titled "Barcelona" with Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock band Queen and a great admirer, following this up with an album of the same name. Their collaboration led to her becoming known to audiences unfamiliar with opera as well.

In addition to her singing career, during which she starred in 90 opera roles with nearly 4,000 stage performances, Caballé was also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and established a foundation for deprived children in Barcelona, the city of her birth.

Official condolences

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed his sadness at the news of Caballé's death.

"A great ambassador for our country has died. Monserrat Caballé, her voice and her tenderness will always stay with us," he wrote on Twitter.

In 2015, Caballé received a six-month suspended sentence for tax fraud, having failed to pay more than €500,000 ($550,000) tax on her earnings.

She had two children with the husband, Spanish tenor Bernabe Marti, whom she married in 1964. One of them, Montserrat Marti, is a successful soprano in her own right.

tj/ng (dpa, AFP)

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