When they hear the name Freddie Mercury, most people immediately think of the incredible voice behind classics like "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Are The Champions." This performance, however, is unlike any other. The Mercury that takes the stage in this video might not be the most frequently remembered, but he absolutely must be heard.
Many might think that a rock legend and an opera star would make an unlikely and unmatched musical duo, but Mercury's performance with Montserrat Caballé proves all the doubters wrong. So, how did this odd pairing come to be? It started when Mercury saw Caballé perform on stage at the Royal Opera House in London in 1983. As soon as she began to sing, he knew that he would love to collaborate. Years later, the two were brought together when Mercury was approached about writing a theme song for the upcoming Olympics in Barcelona and working with Caballé, a native of the city. Although Caballé might have been a bit dubious at first, she later explained that their pairing worked because "he was selling the voice. The technique was astonishing. No problem of tempo, he sung [sic] with an incisive sense of rhythm, his vocal placement was very good and he was able to glide effortlessly from [one] register to another." The admiration was mutual; Mercury described Caballé's voice as "the best in the world."
The result of their hard work, the album Barcelona, was released in 1988. Sadly, the two did not get to collaborate much further, as Mercury died not long after. If not for his unfortunate death, Caballé believes that he would have taken his love of classical music much further. "We talked about doing something together, more classical. We also talked about recording Phantom of the Opera, which he loved very much."