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.
Queen becomes the first act to sell six million copies of an individual album in the UK.
Their first Greatest Hits collection, which includes the hits We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody, has extended its lead after being Britain’s highest-selling album for several years.
The Official Charts Company said one in three British families now owned a copy of the 1981 compilation.
Queen guitarist Brian May said the feat was “incredible”.
“Great news, amazing news from the Official Charts Company,” he said.
“I just want to say thanks to everyone who has supported us through the years, we hope to continue to serve you.”
Band mate Roger Taylor added: “Wonderful. Who would have thought it? And all due to the great British public. Thank you. A great honor!”
Queen’s Greatest Hits leads the all-time album chart by some 900,000 copies, ahead of Abba’s 1992 greatest hits collection Gold.
However, Adele’s 21 is catching up on the top spot quickly. It has sold an impressive 4.7 million copies in just three years.
Queen’s Greatest Hits becomes first album to pass 6 million sales in UK
The Official Charts Company said Queen’s album – which also features Another One Bites The Dust, Bicycle Race and Fat Bottomed Girls – regularly sells several thousand copies per week, particularly around Christmas.
The majority of the sales have been on vinyl, CD and cassette – with only 124,000 downloads to date.
“Becoming the first album to pass six million sales is a quite incredible achievement by Queen,” said Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company.
Queen’s Greatest Hits is also their biggest-selling album in the US, where it is certified as having sold 8 million copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Top 5 UK album sales:
Greatest Hits – Queen (1981) – 6 million
Gold – Greatest Hits – Abba (1992) – 5.1 million
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Beatles (1967) – 5.1 million
21 – Adele (2011) – 4.7 million
What’s The Story Morning Glory – Oasis (1995) – 4.6 million
Brian May has announced he plans to “find out” why the Freddie Mercury estate complained about Go Go Gorilla on a Norwich conservation art trail.
The sculpture, painted as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, was removed on Monday after a copyright complaint.
Jake Humphrey, television presenter and patron of Break, the charity that organized the Go Go Gorilla event, said the estate needed to “think again”.
Queen guitarist Brian May “thanked” twitter users for bringing the matter to his attention.
Wild in Art, the company that supplied the 5ft glass fibre gorilla canvases for the trail, was contacted by Queen’s manager Jim Beach on behalf of the Freddie Mercury estate.
The estate claimed the suit “worn” by the gorilla, painted by Norfolk artist Mik Richardson, breached copyright.
If the Mercury homage, which was outside The Forum, in Norwich, is not returned to the 53-stop trail it will be replaced by another design.
Jake Humphrey, who grew up in Norfolk, said the gorillas were “only there as a source of good”.
Brian May has announced he plans to “find out” why the Freddie Mercury estate complained about Go Go Gorilla on a Norwich conservation art trail
“I am a huge fan of Queen and Freddie Mercury,” he said.
“When I first heard we had a tribute gorilla I thought how fantastic the love of Freddie lives on in such a way that is still able to help good causes across Norfolk and provide such joy for so many people.
“I’d like the people who’ve made this decision to really think again.”
A spokeswoman for Brandbank, the gorilla’s sponsor, said: “We, like everyone else, have been taken aback by the passionate responses to the request by the Freddie Mercury estate that Radio Go Go [the gorilla] be removed due to a suggestion of possible breach of copyright.
“We have spoken to one of the executives of the estate and are endeavoring to see if we can resolve this so that there’s a positive outcome for all the charities involved.
“Our priority is that the event is a success for the charities involved, while respecting the wishes of copyright owners and fans of Freddie Mercury.”
The Go Go Gorilla trail, featuring 53 adult and 67 baby gorillas, runs until 7 September. Other conservation-based trails are taking place in Colchester, Southampton and Exeter.
Freddie Mercury Radio Go Go Gorilla, a gorilla sculpture painted as the late musician, has been removed from a public art trail in Norwich, UK, after a copyright complaint.
Organizers of Go Go Gorillas event were contacted by Queen’s manager Jim Beach on behalf of the Freddie Mercury estate.
The estate claimed the suit “worn” by the gorilla breached copyright.
It asked the Freddie “Radio Go Go” Gorilla sculpture, which Norfolk artist Mik Richardson took three days to create, to be “taken off the streets”.
The sculpture was removed from Millennium Plain, outside The Forum, at 11:00 BST.
Mik Richardson, 50, of Aylsham, Norfolk, said the decision to order its removal was “absolutely shocking”.
He said: “It’s dreadful. It’s petty, really. The night I was told I couldn’t sleep.”
Mik Richardson was paid £800 ($1,250) to design and paint the gorilla.
“I’m a mural artist and I have to be very careful about copyright,” he said.
Freddie Mercury Radio Go Go Gorilla sculpture has been removed from a public art trail in Norwich after a copyright complaint
“I didn’t copy the suit exactly. I alter enough so that it’s fan art, rather than a copy of it.”
The “Radio Go Go” gorilla is one of 53 life-size gorillas decorated by Norfolk artists and displayed on the streets of Norwich over the summer.
An additional 67 baby gorillas, painted at local schools, made up the 120-strong public art trail.
The Freddie Mercury estate contacted Wild in Art, the company that supplied the gorilla glass-fibre canvases, according to director Charlie Langhorne.
“They just said that they own the copyright on the suit and asked us to change it,” Charlie Langhorne said.
“That’s being sorted. To save any bother we will change it.
“We do quite a few bits and pieces for them but it’s no great shakes.
“We would rather not have to do it but it’s not the end of the world.”
He said the gorilla would be repainted with a “new and exciting design” and should be back in place within 10 days.
“People in Norwich will have a new gorilla to enjoy soon,” he said.
Martin Green of Break, one of two charities that will benefit from the auction of the gorillas once the exhibition is over, said: “It’s a disappointing position they have put us in.
“Freddie is one of our most popular gorillas on the trail and now we’ve got to remove him from the streets.
“It’s a sad story, but the positive news is that we’ll end up with another gorilla on the streets.”
The Born Free Foundation, which counts Queen guitarist Brian May among its celebrity supporters, was also set to benefit from the October auction of the Freddie Mercury gorilla to help support conservation projects in the Congo.
A “Freddie Lion” had previously been commissioned for a Pride of Cape Town art trail in May.
A spokesman for the Freddie Mercury estate said it would “not be making any comment”.
Freddie Mercury, the iconic Queen frontman, becomes an “honorary member of the Angry Birds family” on September 3.
Freddie For A Day and Rovio Entertainment have made a partnership to start the week in which the legendary singer’s memory is celebrated with Freddie For A Day on his birthday, September 5.
“Freddie for a Day is such a great way to honor Freddie’s fun and flamboyant spirit while delivering an important message, and we’re delighted to be supporting them in our own Angry Birds style. Queen’s music has endured for a reason, because its creativity and contagious fun appeals to fans of all ages, and we’re happy to help keep Freddie’s memory and music alive for new generations of fans,” said Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio CMO.
Angry Birds join Freddie For A Day by releasing an animation of Freddie the Angry Bird.
The Finnish creators of Angry Birds release a video that presents an all-new animation of Freddie the Angry Bird, riding his bicycle to the track “Bicycle Race,” 1978 Queen hit.
The partnership includes also a limited-edition Freddie Mercury Angry Bird T-shirts, available at Angry Birds and Bravado web stores.
Tonight Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor are hosting a special Freddie For A Day fundraising evening in London at the Savoy.
This is the second year when friends, artists, celebrities are gathering to honor Freddie Mercury and raise funds for the Mercury Phoenix Trust – Fighting AIDS Worldwide.
Now into its third year, Freddie For A Day, is an annual event, created by Liz Swanton, the web editor of the Mercury Phoenix Trust. She raised over £1,200 by spending a working day dressed as Freddie. Note that she is a City of London Banker in real life.
Everyone who loves Freddie or who wants to help raising funds can be Freddie for a day. All they have to do is to decide what to wear: the famous moustache, aviator sunglasses, or a full sparkly body leotard. And the options do not end here.
Born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5, 1946, Freddie Mercury died on November 24, 1991, from AIDS complications.
His popularity has grown even more after his death and he is still honored around the world. Two of his songs, “We Are the Champions” and “Bohemian Rhapsody“, have been voted as the greatest song of all time in major polls by Sony Ericsson and Guinness World Records. At the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Queen‘s “We Will Rock You” with solo artist Jessie J was opened with a video of Freddie Mercury from 1986’s Wembley Stadium performance. The audience was full of enthusiasm.
Freddie Mercury, the legendary Queen frontman. Two of his songs, We Are the Champions and Bohemian Rhapsody have been voted the greatest songs of all time.
The Mercury Phoenix Trust was founded in 1992 by Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor and Queen manager Jim Beach to distribute money raised from the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS awareness. According to their website, since then, the Trust has raised over $15 million to help in the fight against AIDS worldwide. www.mercuryphoenixtrust.com
Angry Birds join Freddie For A Day by releasing an animation of Freddie the Angry Bird. (video)
Guitarist Brian May has confirmed Queen will use a Freddie Mercury hologram on a West End theatre stage – and vows people will wonder if they really saw the star.
A digital projection will appear tomorrow to mark the tenth anniversary of the band’s musical We Will Rock You.
The announcement comes soon after drummer Roger Taylor said he wouldn’t feel comfortable performing with a simulation of the singer, who died in 1991.
Controversy has surrounded the projection effect after rapper Tupac Shakur appeared with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at last month’s Coachella festival, even though he was shot dead in 1996.
Asked whether Queen would make use of the technology in a similar way, Roger Taylor said: “I don’t think I want to. It just doesn’t sit too well with me. I don’t want to appear with a hologram of my dear friend. It’s the real one or no hologram for me.”
He added: “Were somebody to use a hologram of Freddie, I would have no objection.”
Guitarist Brian May has confirmed Queen will use a Freddie Mercury hologram on a West End theatre stage
Now bandmate Brian May confirms Queen are to employ the effect, although they’re not planning to perform alongside the projection.
The guitarist told BBC: “It’s a little unfortunate they did that thing with Tupac as we’ve been trying to make Freddie appear on the stage for quite a while.”
Brian May points out the effect does not produce a true hologram – and adds the musical won’t use the technique employed at Coachella.
“It’s something we’ve looked at ourselves,” he explained.
“But I think probably for a show that runs eight shows a week, it’s not really quite practical.”
Freddie Mercury projection will be used at London’s Dominion Theatre. The original cast, along with producer Robert De Niro, will be present for the May 14 anniversary.
The guitarist vows: “People will come out saying, <<Did we actually see Freddie?>>”
Meanwhile, Queen has confirmed its members will play a third concert in London with TV gameshow winner Adam Lambert singing. They perform at the Hammersmith Apollo on July 11, 12 and 14.
The Queen Extravaganza official tribute show, created by Brian May and Roger Taylor, is currently touring the US.