Renowned Spanish opera singer Montserrat Caballe dies at age 85

AP, Reuters

Montserrat Caballe, a Spanish opera singer renowned for her bel canto technique and her interpretations of the roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, has died. She was 85.

The Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house in Barcelona, where Caballe performed more than 200 times, described her as “one of the most important sopranos in history.”

Spain’s royal family called her “the great lady of the opera, a legend of universal culture, the best among the best. Her personality and her unique voice will always be with us. We are very sorry for her loss,” the royals said in a tweet.

Hospital Sant Pau spokesman Abraham del Moral confirmed her death early Saturday. Del Moral says that Caballe’s family requested the cause of death not be released while saying that she had been in the hospital since last month.

Spanish media said that Caballe entered the Barcelona hospital in September because of a gall bladder problem.

Born into a working class family in Barcelona, Caballe unveiled her musical talents early, singing Bach cantatas at the age of 7.

In her almost unlimited repertoire, she starred in 90 opera roles with nearly 4,000 stage performances.

She released the song “Barcelona” with Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in 1987— and it was used again during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, a year after Mercury’s death.