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Subject: my favorite attribute of Montserrat Caballe
From: Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 9 Oct 2018 15:42:28 -0400
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I was "onboard" (and already in my early twenties) when Caballe made and released her 
first RCA recordings.  On records, I was duly impressed by her Traviata and Lucrezia Borga, 
as well as by her Rossini, Donizettti, and Rossini Rarities recordings.  While her bel canto 
technique was not on the Olympian level of Callas or Sutherland, she nevertheless was 
worthy to be ranked in their company, at least from a vocal standpoint.  
     What truly blew me away was her 1969 RCA Victor recording of Salome.  The fact that 
she actually had this role in her repertoire was positively shocking.  On records, I found her 
Salome incredibly beautiful, and sometimes even riveting (some of her plunges into the low 
register while singing German consonants thrilled me to no end).  Her piano singing was 
also exquisite (while her forte top notes were rock solid without a hint of the metallic sound 
that later crept in).  Then I heard her Marshallin in a pirate recording of "Rosenkavalier".  
Then came "Arabella" and "Ariadne Auf Naxos" along with Norma, Elena in "Vespri", Aida, 
and later some French titles.   By 1977 she took on Turandot in San Francisco and by 1980 
performed Semiramide with Marilyn Horne.  
      In this respect, she was kind of a Placido Domingo among sopranos.  She did not totally 
conquer these roles to a lot of critic's satisfaction, but she took them on anyway, and 
managed to deliver a performance.  Then came Isolde and Seglinde.  Her Isolde is on 
YouTube and it's got some gorgeous moments, as well as some very exciting ones in Act I.  
      That she had a voice that could encompass all of these roles in addition to many others 
make me wonder how she accomplished so much.
       To my ears, her Salome and her Norma were her greatest and most diverse creations 
and she's certainly a soprano whose legacy in opera history is guaranteed as well as 
warranted.

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