pon her retirement from opera, the golden age of the soprano will also come to a close: the second half of the 20th century in opera that gave us, among others, Callas, Sutherland and Price.
An undisputed prima donna in all the major opera and recital halls in the world, Montserrat Caballe is also much loved and admired for her graciousness, kind heart and playful charms qualities not typically associated with the image of an opera diva.
Majestic as a queen (witness her regal bows in the video of the Met's centennial gala: an equal mix of style, grace and humility), Montserrat nevertheless can, and has been known to occasionally break into girlish giggles onstage.
At her performances, it is quite evident how much her audience love her, and that she loves them back. My first Caballe recital was on March 31, 1989 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, and I will never forget the audience that came to see her, wildly cheering and stomping their feet in appreciation.
More memorable for me was a recital she gave in Toronto three years later, for it was then that I experienced first hand Montserrat's graciousness on meeting her in the green room where she was receiving well-wishers.
I had handed her roses during her curtain call at the end of the performance, and afterwards when I met her she remembered and thanked me for the flowers. I was won over by that gesture; it was a very pleasant surprise, and of course has made me a fan for life!
I have met quite a few opera divas in the last ten years or so, and some of them perhaps become so used to getting these little tokens from admirers that they take it for granted. But every now and again there are the exceptions, and none more so than Montserrat. With her I did not feel as if I was in the presence of a frosty diva, meeting her public out of necessity: her warmth and joy in meeting you felt very sincere, and her kindness was quite overwhelming.
Montserrat Caballe has been singing for over forty years. Many will say her greatest accomplishment is having sung over thirty of these years an undisputed prima donna assoluta.
I say her greatest accomplishment is having achieved that, and above all stayed true to her kind and generous self.
A few words from the creator of this website.