OP3006. LA DONNA DEL LAGO (Rossini), Live Performance, 19 May, 1970, w.Bellugi Cond.RAI Ensemble, Torino; Montserrat Caballé;, Franco Bonisolli, Julia Hamari, Gino Sinimberghi, Anna Maria Balboni, Paolo Washington & Pietro Bottazzo. 2-Opera d'Oro OPD 7053, Slipcase Edition. Out-of-print, ever-so-slightly used copy. - 723721333652
"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.
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 Mim� in Puccini's LA BOHÉME. Her unqualified success in that part led to promotion to starring roles, including Pamina, Tosca, A�da, 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. Caball�'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 Jos� 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.
Caball�'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).
Caball� 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 Bernab� Marti. They have two children, Bernab� Marti, Jr. and Montserrat Marti, who is herself a succesful soprano. In 1997, Caball� co-founded an important annual vocal competition in the Principality of Andorra, the Concurs Internacional de Cant Montserrat Caball�. She conducts master classes in conjunction with that competition.�
- Joseph Stevenson, allmusic.com
“Franco Bonisolli had the most thrilling tenor voice in the theatre despite his often over singing in IL TROVATORE. I heard him as Manrico twice in Salzburg, under Karajan, and what a ‘Di quella pira�! His L'AFRICAINE at Covent Garden showed a more subtle side to his singing. How sad that he had the misfortune to die on the same day as Corelli.�
- Leslie Austin, New Zealand