OP1942. SALOME, Live Performance, 1958, Basel, w.Varviso Cond. Basel Opernhaus Ensemble; Montserrat Caballé (début rôle, age 24), Alexander Welitsch, Zbyslaw Wozniak, Sabine Zimmer, etc.; SALOME – Excerpts, Live Performance, c.1952, Stuttgart, w.Leitner Cond. Württembergisches Staatsorchester; Christel Goltz, Wolfgang Windgassen & Hetty Plümacher; Christel Goltz, w.Hollreiser Cond.: Vier letzte Lieder, Live Performance, 1956, Vienna; Lois Marshall, w.Beecham Cond. Concertgebouw Orch.: Vier letzte Lieder (all Strauss), Live Performance, 1958, Amsterdam. (Portugal) 2-Gala 100.799. Final Sealed Copy! - 8712177051588
“…the most important part which Caballé undertook during her time at Basel, and the one which has effectively remained in her repertory throughout her stage career, was the title-rôle in Strauss’ SALOME. Montserrat has never made any secret of the fact that Strauss is her favourite composer and her one regret is that because she became famous for singing bel canto heroines, hardly anyone subsequently thought to offer her the chance of singing her favourite Strauss rôles….”
- Robert Pullen, MONTSERRAT CABALLÉ, p.60
“Montserrat Caballé's career, which began with a legendary lucky break, would eventually make her one of Spain's greatest sopranos -- equaled in status and reputation only by her fellow Barcelonian, Victoria de los Angeles.
Her full birth name is Maria de Montserrat Viviana Concepción Caballé i Folch. She is named after the famous Catalan monastery of Montserrat. It is said that her parents feared that they would lose her and vowed that if she were born alive and well they would christen her with the monastery's name.
She learned singing at her convent school; at the age of eight, she entered the Conservatorio del Liceo in Barcelona. Her most important teachers were Eugenia Kenny, Conchita Badea, and Napoleone Annovazzi. When she graduated in 1954, she won the Liceo's Gold Medal. Caballé then made her professional début in Madrid in the oratorio EL PESEBRE (The Manger) by the great Catalan cellist Pau (Pablo) Casals. She then went to Italy, where she received a few minor roles at various houses. In 1956, she joined the Basel Opera; she was working her way through the smaller roles when one of the principal singers took ill and she took over the role of Mimì in Puccini's LA BOHÉME. Her unqualified success in that part led to promotion to starring roles, including Pamina, Tosca, Aïda, Marta in Eugene d'Albert's TIEFLAND, and the Richard Strauss roles of Arabella, Chrysothemis (ELEKTRA), and Salome.
She steadily gained a European reputation, singing in Bremen, Milan, Vienna, Barcelona, and Lisbon, taking such diverse roles as Violetta, Tatiana, Dvorák's Armida and Rusalka, and Marie in Berg's WOZZECK. She débuted at La Scala in 1960 as a Flower Maiden in PARSIFAL. She sang in México City in 1964 as Massenet's Manon.
On 20 April, 1965, on extremely short notice, she substituted for the indisposed Marilyn Horne in a concert performance in Donizetti's LUCREZIA BORGIA, achieving a thunderous success and ‘overnight’ super-stardom. She became one of the leading figures in the revival of interest in the bel canto operas of Bellini and Donizetti, many of which were staged especially for her. Caballé's performances as Elizabeth I (ROBERTO DEVEREAUX) and that monarch's rival Mary Queen of Scots (MARIA STUARDA) are legendary. In 1971, she sang a memorable concert performance of MARIA STUARDA in which her fellow Barcelonian José Carreras made his London début, and after that she helped advance his career. She made her Metropolitan Opera début in 1965 as Marguerite in FAUST.
Caballé's career has centered around Verdi's important dramatic roles, but has also embraced the Marschallin (ROSENKAVALIER), the Countess (NOZZE), and Queen Isabella (in the premiere of Leonardo Balada's CRISTOBÁL COLÓN in Barcelona in 1989).
Caballé has had unusual crossover success. In addition to singing on two tracks on an album by New Age composer Vangelis, she is famous for collaborating with the late Freddie Mercury of the rock group Queen, who wrote ‘Exercises in Free Love’ for her. She appeared on his hit album ‘Barcelona’. That album and its primary single rose high on the pop charts.
In 1964, she married Spanish tenor Bernabé Marti. They have two children, Bernabé Marti, Jr. and Montserrat Marti, who is herself a succesful soprano. In 1997, Caballé co-founded an important annual vocal competition in the Principality of Andorra, the Concurs Internacional de Cant Montserrat Caballé. She conducts master classes in conjunction with that competition.”
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
“After me, there is only Caballé. ”
- Zinka Milanov, as quoted in Leonardo A. Ciampa’s THE TWILIGHT OF BELCANTO, p.82
“Soprano Christel Goltz was a discovery of conductor Karl Böhm and one of the leading dramatic sopranos of her generation who possessed a rich voice with a brilliant range and intensity. She was particularly associated with the operas of Richard Strauss, especially SALOME and ELEKTRA, and with contemporary operas. Before she became a singer, Goltz had been a dancer and was physically the antithesis of the typical operatic soprano: small, lithe, and energetic. Despite her diminutive stature, Goltz had a big voice that easily made it out to the farthest tier, and it is said that when the character Narraboth killed himself in Strauss' SALOME, that Goltz would leap over his dead body during the Dance of the Seven Veils. It was in dramatic rôles such as Salome and Elektra that Goltz made her mark, and by all accounts in performance she was extremely effective at them. The only sizable studio recordings she made -- SALOME with Clemens Krauss and ELEKTRA with Georg Solti -- were in such rôles. Early in her career, Goltz also created rôles in works of Carl Orff and Swiss composer Heinrich Sutermeister.
Born in Dortmund, she studied in Munich with Ornelli-Leeb and with Theodor Schenk, whom she later married. After singing small rôles, she made her official début in Fuerth, as Agathe, in 1935. She sang one season in Plauen, before joining the roster of principal sopranos at the Staatsoper Dresden through the invitation of Karl Böhm in 1936. She remained at that house until 1950. She began appearing at both the Berlin State Opera and the Stadtische Oper Berlin in 1947, and at the Munich State Opera and Vienna State Opera in 1950. Beginning in 1951, she also made guest appearances in Salzburg, Milan, Rome, Brussels, Paris, London, Buenos Aires, and sang at the Metropolitan Opera in 1954. Besides SALOME and ELEKTRA, her greatest successes included the title rôle in JENUFA, Marie in WOZZECK, Die Farberin in DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, Leonora in FIDELIO and Elettra in IDOMENEO. She created the title rôles in Carl Orff's ANTIGONE and Rolf Liebermann's PENELOPE. An intense singing-actress with a clear and powerful voice of great range, she also tackled a few Italian rôles, notably Turandot.”
- Ned Ludd