As happened so many times with her concerts, yesterday’s tribute to Montserrat Caballé was full. Each of the 454 places to attend the mass and concert in Barcelona’s cathedral, the tickets for which were available free on Monday, went in three hours, as people turned out to pay their respects to the diva who died on October 6, aged 85. The tribute took place on the wishes of her family and the Liceu opera house, which opened its doors to show the commemoration on a large screen. The 1,800 seats for that were also full. Yesterday’s tribute was a show of popular condolence for a beloved public figure.
As was fitting, the event was musical, starting with Samuel Barber’s Adagio, performed by the Liceu orchestra under Josep Pons, as archbishop Juan José Omella took his place at the altar. Omella gave an overview of Caballé’s life, calling her as “one of the most relevant artists in world opera, an ambassador for our country in all the corners of the planet where her voice was heard.”
In the front rows were Caballé’s family, and representatives of the public authorities. Neither the Catalan president nor the mayor of Barcelona were there, but representing them were culture minister, Laura Borràs, and deputy mayor, Jaume Asens. For the Spanish authorities were two ministers: territorial policy minister, Meritxell Batet, and culture minister, José Guirao. Also present were personalities from the cultural, social and economic spheres.
After the prayers came a rendition of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, one of Caballé’s favourite pieces, performed by the Liceu orchestra with the participation of the Polifònica de Puig-Reig, with the unique voices of Ainhoa Arteta, Anna Larsson, Nikolai Schukoff and Alexander Vinogradov. At its end, the cathedral filled with enthusiastic applause.