Barcelona, Freddie Mercury’s collaboration with opera superstar Montserrat Caballe, is his crowning achievement. I have long felt this way about this incredibly special album. Barcelona is the logical fulfillment of the bombastic pop/rock opera fusion that Freddie Mercury helped to create within the context of Queen. The music featured on the Barcelona album toned down the rock and roll and brought the operatic aspects to the forefront. Free from the constraints of Queen, Freddie Mercury was able to create a musical vision that was truly his own. Mercury, in collaboration with Montserrat Caballe, Mike Moran and Tim Rice created nine exquisite songs filled with drama, passion and beauty. Musically and vocally the album showcases some of the best work of Freddie Mercury’s career. Fans know that Freddie Mercury was not an opera singer. By sheer will and passion he holds his own with Montserrat Caballe’s enormous vocals. From beginning to end Barcelona is a musical triumph.
The recent announcement of Montserrat Caballe’s passing is sad news. I am grateful that she and Freddie Mercury were able to come together and create the masterpiece that is Barcelona. Released thirty years ago the album has stood the test of time. Montserrat Caballe’s vocals are a big reason for the success of the album. I do hope that others will continue to discover this magnificent album. Often times collaborations between superstars fall flat. This was far from the case with Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe. These two powerhouses created a special kind of musical magic.