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Soprano Montserrat Caballé celebrates the 50th anniversary of her debut at Barcelona’s Liceu

The Catalan opera diva, acclaimed worldwide, gave a concert at the Gran Teatre del Liceu surrounded by her friends, colleagues, pupils and a grateful audience. Only three days away from reaching half a century of performances at Barcelona’s opera house, Montserrat Caballé also celebrated this special anniversary by unveiling an exhibition on her career in the same venue.


04 January 2012 07:04 PM



Barcelona (ACN).- On Tuesday evening, the Liceu Theatre paid tribute to Montserrat Caballé who celebrated her 50 year relationship with the emblematic Barcelona opera house. Tuesday was an emotional day for the internationally renowned Catalan soprano singer who made her debut in 1962 in the Gran Teatre del Liceu: in the morning she unveiled an exhibition on her artistic career at Barcelona\u2019s opera house, and in the evening she performed in a very special concert. \u2018Una altra nit de Montserrat Caballé\u2019 \u2013 \u2018Another night of Montserrat Caballé\u2019 - was Caballé\u2019s 219th concert at Barcelona\u2019s Gran Teatre del Liceu, located on Les Rambles. It was also one of the most emotional performances, in which friends, colleagues, and pupils accompanied the soprano on stage.

On January 7th 1962, a then 28-year-old Montserrat Caballé made her debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu with \u2018Arabella\u2019 by Richard Strauss. Since that day, the bond between Barcelona\u2019s opera temple and the Catalan soprano has never faded and has even been strengthened by the diva\u2019s involvement during times of difficulty for the institution. Last night\u2019s performance was 78 year old Caballé\u2019s 219th at the Liceu.

The new recital the soprano offered on Tuesday (\u2018Another night of Montserrat Caballé\u2019) was the perfect end to a very special day. In the morning, the bel canto diva from Barcelona unveiled a commemorative exhibition on her career at the Liceu, an exhibition located in the same venue, in the Liceu\u2019s foyer. A triple CD with her historic recordings has also been released, including her best arias sung at the Liceu from 1964 to 2002.

Sheltered by friends, colleagues, and pupils

The concert included an unusual repertory: a succession of arias and operatic fragments characteristic of the history of bel canto and also those important for the artistic trajectory of Caballé. The soprano dressed in red and leaning on a black walking stick, did not sing much and preferred to give the leading role to her \u2018guests\u2019 of the night.

Caballé introduced the guests between each piece, recalling personal and artistic moments and leaving the way clear for her diverse collaborators. Among them, the public enjoyed the performances of her daughter and soprano, Montserrat Martí, tenor Josep Carreras, soprano Maria Gallego or baritones Carlos Álvarez and Joan Pons, as well as pieces sung by some of her disciples in the \u201Ctechnique of the architecture of sound\u201D, as she herself defines it.

Caballé sung Carmen\u2019s habanera for the first time at the Liceu

The evening started with Caballé singing the famous habanera from the opera \u2018Carmen\u2019 by Bizet, a piece that the diva had never performed at the Liceu, which she pointed out (it is composed for a mezzo-soprano and not a soprano). Caballé joked with the smiling audience when she said she hoped the musical piece \u201Cdid not go wrong\u201D.

Gratitude from the Catalan Minister for Culture

Prior to the concert, the Catalan Minister for Culture, Ferran Mascarell, gave a heartfelt speech where he did not hide the friendship he shares with Montserrat Caballé. The Catalan Minister\u2019s gratitude was reinforced by the appearance of the soprano next to Mascarell, who held his hand, listened and appeared emotional.

Mascarell praised the Catalan diva. \u201CIt is a great honour to express on behalf of everybody the gratitude for what you have achieved and for what you mean to all of us. Thank you for the enormous amount of beauty that you have built with your voice and for the tremendous amount of happiness that you have been able to create and give us\u201D.

The Catalan Minister described Caballé as an \u201Cirreplaceable figure in the opera world\u201D who has made Catalonia \u201Csingular but also more universal than ever\u201D. \u201CThank you for having lifted the name of our country, of our city and of the Gran Teatre del Liceu\u201D, Mascarell added.

Caballé thanked the audience for its support over the years and said that \u201Cin her heart\u201D she knows she does not deserve as much recognition as the public.


  • Montserrat Caballé while she was performing the habanera from Bizet's Carmen (by Liceu / ACN)

  • Montserrat Caballé while she was performing the habanera from Bizet's Carmen (by Liceu / ACN)