Montserrat Caballe | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Montserrat Caballe 

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Montserrat Caballe doesn't quite fit the stereotype of the fading diva who hits the recital circuit to rekindle her glory days. At 62 the Spanish soprano still retains much of the legendary pianissimo in her lustrous voice, and as a seasoned veteran of the most prestigious opera houses, she knows how to artfully cover her shortcomings, which these days include a lack of control in the top registers. Though her physical immobility often cramps her acting style, her vocal flexibility and energy remain impressive, allowing her to traverse emotional extremes. She can be both elegant and melodramatic, easily moving from a restrained Haydn scena to a tear-jerking Gounod aria by subtly shifting ornamentation and color. At this Ravinia Festival appearance, Caballe will also indulge in her passion for zarzuelas, Spanish folk operas, by devoting half of the program to songs by the likes of Ruperto Chapi y Lorente and Geronimo Gimenez y Bellido. Her signature arias, from operas by Verdi and Jules Massenet, round out the program, in which she'll be accompanied by the Ravinia Festival Orchestra under the direction of experienced zarzuela maestro David Gimenez. Saturday, 8 PM, Pavilion, Ravinia Park, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.

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