Opera star Montserrat Caballe laid to rest in Barcelona

Spanish opera diva Montserrat Caballe was renowned for her bel canto technique and her interpretations of the roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. (Reuters)
Updated 09 October 2018
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Opera star Montserrat Caballe laid to rest in Barcelona

  • Hailed as one of the greatest singers for her vocal virtuosity and dramatic powers, Caballe charmed audiences for half a century with a huge repertoire
  • She was propelled into the mainstream when her duet with Freddie Mercury, a boundary-busting combination of opera and rock, became the anthem for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona

BARCELONA: Spain’s world-famous opera singer Montserrat Caballe was laid to rest on Monday at a funeral in Barcelona where tenor Jose Carreras hailed her as “the greatest soprano of the 20th century.”
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Catalonia’s separatist president Quim Torra also said their goodbyes to Caballe, who died on Saturday aged 85.
Hailed as one of the greatest singers for her vocal virtuosity and dramatic powers, Caballe charmed audiences for half a century with a huge repertoire that saw her perform across the globe.
Nicknamed “la superba” in her native Spain, she was propelled into the mainstream when her duet with Freddie Mercury, a boundary-busting combination of opera and rock, became the anthem for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
“For me, Montserrat was the greatest soprano in the 20th century,” Carreras told reporters.
“The only person who could get close was Maria Callas.”
Greek composer Vangelis, with whom Caballe collaborated, sent a wreath with the message: “For the one and only Montserrat Caballe.”
Born in April 1933 to a humble Barcelona family, Caballe was buried next to her parents in the city’s Sant Andreu cemetery in a northern working-class district.


Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

Updated 51 min 51 sec ago
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Curious foreigners get rare chance to sample Emirati culture

DUBAI: No question was off limits for curious tourists and foreign residents of Dubai wanting to learn more about Emirati culture and the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Emiratis make up less than 10% of those living in Dubai, the most populated emirate in the seven-emirate United Arab Emirates federation, making it hard for foreigners to meet them.
Dubai goes to great lengths to market itself as open to different cultures and faiths as the Middle East’s financial, trade and leisure center, and a government cultural center is inviting visitors to find out more about Emirati life.
“There are no offending questions,” said Emirati Rashid Al-Tamimi from the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding.
“How do you worship, what is the mosque, why do you wear white, why do women wear black ... is everybody rich in this country?“
Emirati volunteers gathered at a majlis — the traditional sitting room where the end-of-fast iftar meal is served at floor-level — were asked about dating and marriage, what they think of Dubai’s comparatively liberal dress codes for foreigners, and aspects of the Muslim faith.
“We learn from them, they learn from us. (Foreigners) have been here a long time and I feel they see themselves as Emiratis, and we are proud that they do so,” said Majida Al-Gharib a student volunteer.
Visitors broke the day’s fast with dates and water, before sampling Emirati cuisine, including biryani and machboos rice and meat dishes.
Seven-year-old Anthony from Poland, who goes to school in Dubai, said he came to find out more about the breaking of the fast meal because many of his friends at school do it.
2019 has been designated the Year of Tolerance in the United Arab Emirates and there is a minister of state for tolerance.