First things first, although here at Feedback we deal primarily with Metal and Hard Rock, this landmark release is not top to toe with face-melting riffs. It is yet another incredibly influential album from the man who made such a positive impact on so many artists today, many of whom are from the metal and hard rock community. Undoubtedly one of the greatest multi instrumentalists of all time, the one and only Freddie Mercury was so passionate about recording with Montserrat Caballé that he changed record labels at the time to ensure the project saw the light of day. Hard to believe that this album could so very nearly not have been, had the Queen frontman not persisted with this ambitious project. Luckily, it was meant to be and today critics and fans alike agree that, Barcelona is a true masterclass in how opera and rock can flourish as one. Fans should be excited by the fact that this special twenty fifth anniversary edition of a modern classic has been updated with a newly orchestrated re-working (by The FILMharmonic Orchestra, Prague), conducted by Adam Klemens. This is refreshing when you think of the amount of re-released anniversary albums that offer very little more than the original release did to begin with. The album is produced by Stuart Morley, who is also Music Director and Arranger. Incidentally Morley is also MD in Ben Elton’s hit musical ‘We Will Rock You’.
From the instantly recognisable opening line Barcelona is a roller-coaster ride of operatic and theatrical extravagance, utterly spellbinding. This song in particular has aged gracefully since Mercury wrote the track for the 1992 Olympic games, which were held in (you guessed it) Barcelona. The fact that no orchestrated parts were recorded on this reissue for the title track reinforces just how timeless it is. Tragically, Freddie never got the chance to perform the song with Caballé at the opening ceremony, as he passed away in November of 1991.
The trademark passionate singing of Mercury shines brightly throughout especially on the beautiful ‘How Can I Go On’. To this day, Freddie Mercury has legions of fans and is greatly missed the World over. This year he would have been sixty six, had he not been called from this Earth at the age of forty five. This is a great way to celebrate the anniversary of one of the greatest crossover recordings after all of these years. Mercury was in his element on Barcelona and he fed off the incredible talent of Montserrat Caballé, they complimented each others styles so well. The majestic voice of mezzo soprano Montserrat Caballé is faultless throughout and is stirringly beautiful, no surprise that Mercury was so captivated by her talent in the first place.
The release is available in a variety of formats, most interesting is the three CD and DVD hard back book edition, which contains orchestral, demo and alternative versions of tracks from sessions for the album.
Barcelona – Special Edition is released 3rd September via Island Records.