Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Tribute to Freddie Mercury and His Love of Montserrat Caballé

Freddie Mercury (September 5, 1946 – November 24, 1991) would have celebrated his 65th birthday this week. In honor, Google created a special doodle for the occasion (watch it here) to celebrate his status as a rock legend. But his love for music went beyond any single genre and during the last decade of his life he developed a deep emotional bond with Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé. His love affair with her voice began when he attended a performance of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera at London's Royal Opera House - Covent Garden in 1983. So taken by her talent, he flew to Barcelona in 1987 to give the diva a cassette with two to four songs hoping that she might like them and possibly perform them. The collaboration took place when the rocker sat down at a piano and played various melodies for the opera star asking which one she preferred. Watch a rare interview with the pair at Covent Garden here. By April of that year Freddie began work on a new album to record with Caballé. "At the end of May the island of Ibiza staged a huge festival at the outrageous Ku Club. Freddie agreed to be a guest of honour and closed the event with Montserrat Caballé singing the song he had written for her and her home city, "Barcelona." On October 8th, 1988 Freddie and Montserrat appeared at the huge
open air La Nit festival in Barcelona. They performed three tracks from their forthcoming album - 'How Can I Go On,' 'The Golden Boy' and 'Barcelona,' accompanied by Mike Moran on piano. The long-awaited album, Barcelona, finally came out on October 10th. "The title track later became the anthem of the 1992 Summer Olympics which was hosted by Caballé's native city, and appeared again in the pop music charts throughout Europe. Caballé also performed the song live, accompanied by a recording of the by then deceased Mercury, before the 1999 UEFA Champions League football final in Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium." That October 8, 1988 concert with Montserrat was the last time Freddie Mercury performed on stage. At the end of his life in 1991 he was terribly sick with AIDS and he didn't want the public to know. He did, however, tell those people closet to him and you can watch an emotional video of Ms. Caballé discussing it by clicking here. He finally opened up and announced to the world that he was suffering from AIDS and died the next day. [Source, Source]

Read a complete biography of Freddie Mercury by clicking here. Watch a special "mix" video of several performances the duo did of "Barcelona" after the jump.