Per molts anys, Montserrat!

Beloved diva Montserrat Caballe is 73 today!

Headline corrected so that the greeting is now in Catalan (thanks NGM)!

More Caballe videos!


34 Responses to “Per molts anys, Montserrat!”


    Darling Montserrat Caballe HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and many more!

  2. marschallin Says:

    Beloved by who? Anyway, “beloved” is also a has-been-with-a-new-sob-story-(tumor)-to-make-news-because-the-singing-stopped-long-long-long-ago.

  3. rysanekfreak Says:

    Beloved by ME and by countless others!

  4. rysanekfreak Says:

    Is this the time and place to debate the merits/demerits of the Caballe “Vespri” versus the Studer “Vespri”?

    Or their rival “Guillaume Tell”s?

    Or their “Semiramide”s?

    I suppose there are enough candles on her birthday cake to create FLAME, so I’ll vote for Caballe.


    rysanekfreak, YOU tell em!!!!

  6. scifisci Says:

    ms. caballe is certainly beloved by me! there are just so many roles she does to perfection!….along with many she just did for the sake of doing, but still, we have no one like her today! happy birthday!

    ps: its hard to consider studer a “rival” in those roles….can there even be a comparison?! also better add salome and aida to that list!

  7. celticpriestess Says:

    She is certainly also beloved by me, ever since my high school days when I bought my first records with her! I’m sure there are many more around the world who feel the same way, and who don’t forget all the lovely singing she’s done over the years. A happy 73rd, Ms. Caballé!

  8. Kashania Says:

    I could make a list criticism of Caballe (and many other great singers, for that matter) but there’s not doubt in my mind that when she was on, and in her prime, she delivered some of the most glorious singing I’ve ever heard. What nonesense to attack her in a birthday-tribute post!!

  9. Baritenor Says:

    Ever since I first heard her sing Liu on the recording with Joan and Luciano, I’ve loved Montsy C. Happy birthday, darling, and many more.

  10. A leetle typo in the post’s title, Cieca. 😉

  11. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    Feliz Cumpleanos, Monserrat !

    A diva beloved by many around the world. Some of us are even old enough to remember how sensational she was when she first became internationally known in the late 1960’s. The stuff of memories.

  12. Il Tenore di Grazia Says:

    I remember once reading that there was a time in the year when Freni, Caballe, Horne, Cossotto and Scotto were all the same age. They were all born within months of each other. Which means that the other four ladies either had their 73rd birthday recently or should also be having it soon.

    Happy Birthday to all of them.

  13. rysanekfreak Says:

    Speaking of bizarre typos, what is with that Ads by Goooooogle thing in the right column where Liza’s name is spelled “Minelli” twice?

  14. il stupendo Says:

    Montsie: the last of the prima donnas!

    I still can’t believe my ears after all these years …

  15. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    I simply adore Caballe. I personally didn’t care for some of her heavier repertoire choices, but even in those her artistry and musicianship and her gorgeous voice shone through. I have to admit, at the very beginning, I wasn’t much of a Caballe fan…I was aware of some of her Mozart recordings (which weren’t and aren’t bad, not necessarily something to really jump up and down about)…and then one magical day occurred where a close friend of mine and I discovered a 2 cd set (which has only recently been re-released on cd two years ago) that changed not only our estimation of Caballe, but changed our entire lives as singers and as human beings. That collection is her Rossini, Donizetti, and Verdi Rarities. There was an outstanding display of vocal fireworks, passion, intelligence, beautifully spun phrases, dramatic integrity, and REAL SINGING one after another – as each track went by, we became more and more excited! There are ALOT of fantastic recordings of Rossini’s “Inflammatus” but Caballe’s will always be #1 on my list…and of particular spectacle are the Verdi selections – if you have not heard this woman’s recording of the aria from ‘Aroldo,’ you have NOT truly heard Caballe. She interpolates what must be the most astounding, perfectly placed, biggest, fullest, roundest, most impassioned High Db in the recitative – it is absolutely perfection. That note alone, truly moved my entire soul! This is bel canto singing at its greatest without much contest. And I have to say that alongside Eleanor Steber’s 1941 Met broadcast, the Caballe Traviata is my favorite – I don’t even MISS the high Eb.

    If I might say, that is the one thing I wish Caballe would have spent more time with – the rare middle Verdi operas – she sang most of them – who can forget her Masnadieri and her Giovanna D’Arco!?! – but for my own personal reasons, I wish more opera houses (ESPECIALLY the Met) would have revived many more of those Donizetti and Bellini and Rossini and Verdi masterpieces and made them more standardized repertoire – more familiar to the public’s ears. I would very much have loved to have heard her sing the whole of I Lombardi and, in the late 70’s-80’s, Attila and Lady Macbeth (I am fairly certain that she sang the part somewhere at some point – I know that I have recordings of her doing some arias – if she did the whole role, I am unaware of it)…the list goes on and on.

    I have to say, concerning Rossini’s Otello…Caballe’s recording of Desdemona’s scene is simply breathtaking. My dreamcast for that opera would have to be either Jose Carreras or Franco Bonisolli as Otello, Caballe as Desdemona, Rockwell Blake or Francisco Araiza as Roderigo, Sam Ramey (at the time of his recording of the opera) or Michele Pertusi as Elmiro, and certainly it wouldn’t be hard to find a decent tenor with a nice tone to sing Iago. I love many things about the Lobos-Copez/Carreras/von Stade recording…but I just can’t help wishing for Caballe and Blakes voices to magically appear on the recording. Certainly NO disrespect to Flicka as I happen to hold her art in very high esteem…the fact of the matter is that I just LONG for Caballe in the part in her own recording of the opera (with perhaps Abbado or Solti conducting!!).

    Happy Birthday Caballe! Thank you for all of your magnificent contributions to the world of opera and certainly for personal inspiration in my own career!

  16. julienned Says:

    I also love this woman. I don’t even know how many of her recordings I have. I’ve never seen her in a role, but have a couple of videos (one, a pirate Tosca with Carreras and recently the commercial Norma) which are so satisfying that you can’t imagine a better performance. She is such a good musician too.

    A number a years ago (quite a few, I guess), I heard her in Carnegie hass do a recital. I was excited for weeks before the event. It turned out to be something of a strange evening. During the program, which I don’t remember at all, I was completely frustrated. She really seemed to be phoning-in her performance. It was actually a little wierd, like she was rehearsing it for another performance. But then, when she sang the encores, something in her came alive and she suddenly lit up. I still remember how excited I (and I’m sure the rest of the audience) got.

    She must have sung 9 or 10 encores, and the audience got more excited with each one. I don’t know how long the recital went. I still don’t understand what happened, but I was glad to have experienced her live.

    And, in addition to all that, she seems to radiate a genuine human warmth and love that I can’t resist.

  17. julienned Says:

    I really should proof my posts….I mean Carnegie Hall (Oy)

  18. Is there a camper 4 minutes in the whole of western civilisation than the Barcelona video? They must have had so much fun filming it – bless them!

  19. marschallin Says:

    I just had a chance to hear bits of the Caballe Bolena from Scala; her
    operning arias, and her final scene. It’s great circus, but terrible opera.
    Although I think that lots of us, me included, have wonderful recollections
    of Caballe’s best days, it’s a helpful corrective to remember just how bad
    she could be – even with her breath control and piano singing – when she
    really still should have been at the height of her career artistically. She
    was ‘sick’ for the first performance, and cancelled (in the event,
    interestingly enough, a rapid search was made for a substitute and Marissa
    Galvany was called and asked if she wantd to make her Scala debut on three
    days notice, in a role she’d not sung in a long time; she had a preexisting
    commitment with Metro Theatre (in Kansas, I think), and felt in any event
    that a debut under those cicumstances wasn’t worth it to her), but illness
    doesn’t account for the evening, in which the audience participates as two
    rival football teams.

    The first double aria (Come innocente giovanna and Non v’ha sguarrdo) are
    probably as bad as any entrance arias I’ve ever heard anyone sing – perhaps
    Scotto’s opening Norma at the MET was as bad, but that would be a close one
    to call. She is constantly rewriting the music – she will do basically
    anything to avoid going above a G at the top of the staff – and whole
    phrases are systematically dropped in the cabaletta, or simplified, to get
    her through, or so that she can so distort a succeeding phrase with a long
    breath or pianissimo. There’s no repeat of the cabaletta, of course. I don’t
    know if the audience was primed to jeer her before the performance even
    began – there was a lot of bad blood from the Callas widows that Scala was
    resurrecting the same production, which had not been seen there since 1958,
    and on top of that there’d been the sudden cancellation of the first
    performance, minutes before it started – Simionato, who’d been in
    attendance, had gone on stage to try to quiet the crowd, and had herself
    apparently been booed for her efforts. But the last scene is bizarre. Early
    on , Anna has a very exposed C” on ‘infiorato” (?sp), and it’s a hard note,
    but you can get away with screaming it out in the context of the text, if
    you have to. In any event, Caballe goes for it and flats, just a bit, but
    even before she’s really landed the note, you’ve got what sounds like 50 or
    100 people in the audience clucking and booing and jeering….for a moment,
    you think that this is stage business devised to cover up attention to the
    risk of the note, but you realize as it goes on that it’s not. The truth is
    that although it’s not a great C”, it’s just one fucking note, and Callas,
    much earlier in her career, was screwing up and cheating on top notes much
    less successfully. The famous slow aria, “Ah, dolce guidami” is vocalized
    perfectly (almost), but that’s all it is – an exercise. It’s all very soft
    singing (none of the indicated trills are taken or tried, of course), but it
    sounds completely like a student’s exercise, and though she gets the
    expected long round of applause from her ‘side’, the actual emotional impact
    of listening to her here is nil, imho. The ensuing allegreto (based on “Home
    Sweet Home”) is almost as good, but here again Caballe changes phrases
    repeatedly to grab breaths or avoid difficult notes, and in the cadenza at
    the end, which is written up to a high Bb, I think, she doesn’t go beyond
    the Bb in the staff. “Coppia Iniqua (sp)’ has almost no impact – almost none
    of the really critical trills on ‘ascende’, lots of phrases dropped and/or
    lowered and the top is again a mess. The Bb at the top of the phrase
    “l’estreme vendetta’ is a rough approximation at best, and the one further
    C” she has is a mistake – again, it’s a very brief note, no one in normal
    situations would miss it, but the Callas widows are sitting and waiting, and
    start hooting again. The stretta is bizarrely cut, and Caballe again takes
    some weird line lowerings.

  20. LaMalipasta Says:

    The DVD of the concert from French TV in 1966, alone, would be enough to prove the greatness of Caballe.

  21. papagenodz Says:

    marschallin —

    god forbid anyone took the time to dissect a poor live studer performance in such detail.

    besides the mean-spirited, rambling nature of your post, we can’t help but notice one innaccuracy: “home sweet home” is not the allegro in the bolena final scene but the preceding movement.

    caballe fans will note that she came around to admitting that bolena was the hardest fit for her of the three queens operas. her roberto devereux was always superb, and can sit alongside gencer’s, for they are so perfectly different. i agree with itdcs that american opera companies should have been more eager to stage the donizetti, rossini, and rare verdi operas caballe was unrivalled at.

    of the people on this forum, i probably like studer more than most. we share interlochen as an educational high point in our lives (backstage at grunow, it says my name as friar laurence next to her name as yum-yum), and i get a kick out of some of her records, particularly the salome and the four last songs/liebestod disc. but you are making a joke of her by using her as a platform to diss truly divine singers like madame caballe. i hope her ears weren’t burning from your diatribe on her birthday.

  22. tubsinger Says:

    Yo yo yo. Don’t nobody be picking on Caballe. This woman is divine. If not as techically “clean” as Sutherland, or as dramatically alert as Callas, she offered the most exciting and lovely singing of her generation. She had a wider repertoire than almost anyone else, too. My regret is that she never commercially recorded “Vespri” or the 3 queens. Or Trittico. Or more Mozart. Or Contes d’Hoffman. Or Trovatore…


    Yes indeed, Caballe was (is) one of a kind. I remember her wonderful Verdi on the Philips lable in the mid to late 1970s. I looked foward to each release and to holding the nice thick LP albums very close to my chest.

  24. Cynthia! Says:

    Happy Birthday Mosntserrat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Just for the heck of it, perhaps Marshie could also expand on her “wonderful recollections of Caballe’s best days” as a little belated birthday gift?

  26. marschallin Says:

    Well, them best days were nowhere in this godawful, trashy “Barcelona”, were they? Not for either performer. One rests in peace now; the other ought to go into transient retirement ’til her day comes. So should her infantile fans.

  27. Michael Farris Says:

    marschallin has _got_ to be the cutest thing ever. Sort of like an vewy angwy bunny wabbit.

  28. How wonderful to see a birthday of one of the “truly greats” for a change (instead of an obituary).

    Montserrat has been a giant of an artist in every way – her incredible voice her presence and her wonderful sense of humour. She’s one of a kind.

    Who else but ‘Montsy” could have (on one occasion)”stopped the show” to quell disruptive boo-ers, who were trying to destroy one of her colleagues.

    Her contribution to “the art” has been enormous- despite some severe health problems over the years including several major operations.

    Thanks to the large body of work she has left on wonderful recordings we can go on enjoying her work forever! God bless ya Mme Caballe!! It would be hard to find another artist who has so many adoring fans and admirers. I am “just one”.

  29. Il Tenore di Coloratura Superba Says:

    I also want to mention how much I truly love Caballe’s collaboration with her biggest fan, Freddie Mercury. The song “Barcelona” is a great number and the whole album is very refreshing – one takes what are quite possibly the two most opposite artists and combines their collective geniuses and talents in a rather sweet and innovative mixture of Opera and Rock. Caballe was Mercury’s most favorite artist and he did write arias for her as well. After he passed away, there was a tribute concert where Caballe, the remaining members of Queen and Bruce Dickson performed “Bohemian Rhapsody” – it’s one of the most strange things I’ve ever heard in my life – and yet, there is something that just makes me smile and warms my heart every time I listen to it!

  30. Michael Farris you are one nice person – where you see a cute wittle wabbit, all I can see is a reptile, a cockroach or a maggot- and a nasty rotten one at that.
    I wish I could be more like you- peace bro! 🙂 I will keep trying.

  31. il stupendo Says:

    group hug for marschallin, anyone? hehehe!

    i love ‘barcelona’ and i love ‘mommie dearest’!


  32. opera80221 Says:

    My exposure to Montserrat came at the behest of a lovely man, after a session of in flagrante delicto (I hope I said that right), I tell him that I’m an aspiring opera singer…he tells me he just saw Montserrat sing Turandot in San Francisco, and that it was the turning point of his musical life. I immediately go out, after we put things away, and get an album of her singing the Bolero from I Vespri Siciliani….BOWLED OVER was I…couldn’t believe how VIBRANT the SOUND is! And just lately, I’ve boughjt 2 DVDS with her, one of which was a concert and the other was her incomparable Norma at Orange. How that girl could sing above all that WIND! She’s always been accused of being somewhat distant from the music, but her interpretation THAT night was DEAD ON. How I wish I couldn’t witnessed her in her prime. I will ALWAYS be a devoted fan.

    Marsh, don’t you think life is a little too short to be so negative?
    But I guess I shouldn’t complain….Queens digging their nails into each other verbally is sometimes more entertaining then all the operas ever

  33. Which queen is the bigger?

  34. All they’re missing are jazz hands. This shit is camp at its best!

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