Montserrat Caballe: The opera diva ‘who could do everything’

Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe performing 'Barcelona' in 1987

Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe performing 'Barcelona' in 1987

One of the best-known operatic sopranos in history, Montserrat Caballe, has died in her home town of Barcelona, said the hospital where had been receiving treatment.

The 85-year-old diva had reportedly been in the city's Hospital Sant Pau since late last month, where she was receiving help for a chronic gallbladder issue.

Spokesman Abraham del Moral told AP news agency that the singer's family requested the cause of death not be released.

It is believed she was suffering from a gall bladder problem.

Born to a working-class Catalan family, Montserrat Caballe, who was named after a local monastery, received a first-class musical education.

Spanish tenor Jose Carreras said she possessed a voice of great range, combined with a flawless technique.

Cabelle, who had been ill for some years, dueted with Queen's Freddie Mercury on the song "Barcelona" which was a worldwide hit in 1987.

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Caballe's big break came in 1965 when she stepped in for another singer in the notoriously hard role of Lucrezia Borgia in Donizetti's opera in NY.

"Her personality and her unique voice will always be with us".

Caballe's nearly 60-year worldwide career took her from Basel to NY and beyond.

The performance won her great acclaim from the public and made her an overnight sensation.

In 1997, she sang on two tracks on an album by New Age composer Vangelis.

In 2015, at a time when Spain was cracking down on tax evasion as it attempted to rein in a large public deficit during a prolonged economic crisis, Caballe agreed to a fine of 250,000 euros and a symbolic six-month jail term. She also established a foundation for needy children in Barcelona.

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