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The Catalan soprano Montserrat Caballé (born 12 April 1933) is a famous opera singer, renowned for her bel canto technique and her interpretations of the great bel canto roles of Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti.
Caballé was born Maria de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé in Barcelona. She studied music at the Liceu Conservatory. She joined the Basel Opera in 1956, where she made her professional operatic debut in 1957 as Mimě in La Bohčme. For the 1960–61 season, she was engaged by the Bremen Opera , where she specialized in bel canto roles. In 1962 Caballé returned to Barcelona and made her debut at the Liceu. In 1964, she married the tenor Bernabé Marti.
Caballé's international breakthrough came in 1965 when she substituted for an indisposed Marilyn Horne in a concert performance of Lucrezia Borgia at New York's Carnegie Hall; her peformance created a sensation and made her famous throughout the opera world. Later that year, Caballé made her debut at Glyndebourne and at the Metropolitan Opera as Marguerite in Gounod's Faust. In 1972, she made her La Scala debut in Bellini's Norma and her Covent Garden debut as Violetta.
Although best known for her bel canto roles, Caballé eventually sang over eighty operatic roles, from baroque opera to Verdi, Wagner, and Puccini, including the Marschallin in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier and the title role in Salome.
Caballé is also a noted recitalist, particularly of songs of her native Spain.
Her voice is noted for its purity, precise control, and power. She is admired less for her dramatic instincts and acting skills than for her superb technique, vocal shadings, and exquisite pianissimos.
The result of one of her brief excursions to the world of pop music, Caballé's duet with rock singer Freddie Mercury, "Barcelona ", became the anthem of the 1992 Summer Olympics which was hosted by the city.
Since retiring from the stage, Caballé has dedicated herself to various charities. She is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and she has established a foundation for needy children in Barcelona.
Caballé's daughter, Montserrat Martí, is also a singer and the two occasionally perform together.
Despite courageous investigations, many times carried out in the most extreme of circumstances, no one has yet managed to reveal her weight. It remains a mystery to this day.
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