Spanish opera legend Montserrat Caballé has died aged 85.
Her duet with Freddie Mercury became the signature song of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
According to news agency Efe, Montserrat Caballé had been suffering from health complaints for some time and was admitted to hospital in Barcelona last month.
With a 50-year career, Montserrat Caballé had stints with the Basel Opera and Bremen Opera before her international breakthrough in 1965 in Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall in New York.
Montserrat Caballé went on to perform with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and Vienna State Opera, appearing opposite the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo.
The song Barcelona was first released in 1987 and later became an anthem for the city’s 1992 Olympics, the year after Freddie Mercury died. She sang at the opening ceremony with Placido Domingo and José Carreras.
Montserrat Caballé was born in Barcelona, and at the age of nine was accepted for training at the city’s Conservatori Liceu.
She graduated in 1953, and went to Italy, where she sang some minor roles.
Montserrat Caballé’s career advanced rapidly after a successful appearance as Mimi in La Bohème at the Basel Opera. In 1965 she made a triumphant debut in the US, taking over the title role – at short notice – of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall.
The singer’s performance brought widespread praise for the beauty of her voice and her dramatic interpretation, and established her as an international star.
Montserrat Caballé’s career was dogged by ill health. In 1985, she spent three months in hospital with a brain tumor, and had treatment for heart trouble in 1993.
In 2015, Montserrat Caballé was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for tax fraud.
According to Spanish media, plans are being made for a funeral in Barcelona on October 8.
Modernism stemmed from the Industrial revolution, a time where rapid changes to the landscape at the hands of manufacturing, transportation and changes to the urban landscape as city centres began to prosper. Before this time artists were commissioned to produce art depicting scenes from the bible or mythology; but as the landscape changed there was new inspiration and artists begun to take influence from their surroundings. This was perceived as a reaction from the past and this style of art was centred around innovation, experimentation and the embracing of new materials and colour, to create artwork reflective of the time.
Modernism reflected changes in society, the experimentation of colour and lines and a tendency towards abstract depiction is reminiscent in the works of Antoni Gaudi, scattered throughout Barcelona.
At the end of the 19th century, Barcelona was beginning to transform and its’ culture was transforming, in Barcelona, the urban landscape was developing and there was a significant increase in the quantity of buildings being developed. The return of the ‘los indianos’, Spaniards that were returning home with their fortunes and the modern lifestyle influences from Latin America, who were keen to bring around changes.
Barcelona’s economic prosperity and the rise of the bourgeoisie was clearly evident. The Passeig de Gracia is a road that unites the old and new town and this is the destination that depicts so much of the work Antoni Gaudi. This area became a desirable location for the Catalan middle classes to spend their time and money in the abundance of luxury shops. The wealthiest members of society wanted to build their houses as demonstration of their wealth.
Josep Batllo was a wealthy textile business owner, he bought a bland and dreary building and enlisted the services of Antoni Gaudi to transform the building into something more prominent and bold, the result created one of the most iconic buildings of the modernism movement. This movement is credited with development of Barcelona. The development of the building known as Casa Battlo in the Passeig de Gracia is a celebration of Gaudi and he is credited as one of the most dynamic of this movement.
Caso Battlo embodies typical modernist and Gaudi style. Modernist architecture is characterised by the use of curved lines, merging the functional and the aesthetic of a building, the use of plant and animal symbols, asymmetry and a more organic style and shape. Modernism embraces the use of colour and the use of new materials incorporated with existing is typical of this style.
Caso Battlo, has a fantastical and imaginative façade with the use of glass and stone, wavy lines and covered in a rainbow of cleared mosaics in colours of the sea and sand made from glass and ceramics. The roof is shaped like the back of large scaled animal, often likened to a dragon, the ornamental spine forms the top of the building. The main gallery overlooks passersby on the Passeig de Gracia and a full panorama of the outside view is possible running the whole width of the room. The interior pillars are decorated with modernist floral designs. Balconies adorn the exterior projecting outward over the pavement. Much like Gaudi’s work Caso Batllo is an organic and colourful representation of the time, a representation of a creature adorning the pavement.
Catalonia is holding an informal poll on independence.
The Spanish judiciary has ruled the vote unconstitutional but Catalan leader Artur Mas warned against any attempt to disrupt it.
Spain’s constitutional court suspended earlier plans for a referendum on secession.
PM Mariano Rajoy said the vote would have no effect and urged the region to return to “sanity”.
Voters will be asked whether they want a Catalan state and whether that state should be independent.
Catalonia is a wealthy a region of 7.5 million people and contributes more to the Spanish economy than it gets back through central government funds. Economic and cultural grievances have fuelled Catalan nationalism.
He says there is a long history of support for winning independence from Spain, or at least much greater autonomy within it.
This week, the Constitutional Court demanded the vote be suspended.
Catalonia is holding an informal poll on independence
Catalonia’s government insisted it went ahead, organized by volunteers and with no official electoral roll.
Artur Mas warned the Spanish government against any attempt to halt the vote.
He said: “I don’t know what they will do, it does not depend on us, but if they have a minimum of common sense I think any action out of the ordinary would be a direct attack on democracy and a direct attack on fundamental rights.”
Mariano Rajoy urged a return to sanity and for talks “within the legal framework of the constitution”.
He said the vote would be “neither a referendum nor a consultation nor anything of the sort”.
He added: “What is certain is that it will not have any effect.”
The Libres e Iguales (Free and Equal) group, which opposes the vote, held protests in dozens of cities.
One protest in Barcelona witnessed minor scuffles but no arrests.
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