Montserrat Figueras, Catalan opera singer and companion of violinist Jordi Savall, breathed life into forgotten repertoire at the crossroads of cultures and influenced both by academic and popular sources, with her unique voice and an interpretation style recognizable among all.
Born in Barcelona into a family of music lovers, Montserrat Figueras collaborated from an early age with Enric Gispert and Ars Musicae. She went on studying singing with Jordi Albareda and attended drama lessons. From 1966, she studied ancient singing techniques, from troubadours to baroque music, thus developing a very personal style directly fueled by original, historical and traditional sources, in addition to post-romantic influences. From 1967 onwards, she commited to an artistic and human union with Jordi Savall, particularly fruitful in various educational, research and creative activities. From this collaboration, a mutual and reciprocal imprint emerged, particularly evident in the development of an innovative interpretation style. Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall marked the entire historical music movement’s evolution by combining a perfect fidelity to historical sources with an outstanding creative and expressive capacity. As early as the seventies, Montserrat Figueras opened a new path, as for this generation of musicians, it was obvious that vocal music from before 1800 needed a new technical and stylistic approach, where beauty and emotion of voice - human expression par excellence - establish the necessary balance between singing and declamation, giving priority to the poetic and spiritual projection of the text.
"Singing is a spiritual act, an act that transforms you. Music brings us to a state close to contemplation and prayer. A being without spiritual capacity is severed of something essential. To give pleasure by singing, you have to enjoy it yourself. In music, there's no room for lies." Monserrat Figueras
As Jordi Savall’s romantic and musical partner, Monserrat Figueras marked the musician's career. In an interview from 2013, Jordi Savall confided in their first meeting:
“It was a young student from the conservatory who recommended me because she heard me play Bach. A young cellist who also sang in the ensemble Ars Musica and was called Montserrat Figueras." (Jordi Savall)
"It's a great privilege to play such beautiful music with the person you love." (Jordi Savall)
Interview with Monserrat Figueras about her debut and the years of complicity she spent with Jordi Savall, directed by Suzana Kubik in 2007.
Six landmark dates in the life of Monserrat Figueras:
1967: Monserrat Figueras married Jordi Savall
1968: She finished her studies in Basel (Switzerland) with Kurt Widmer, Andrea Von Rahm and Thomas Binkley at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and the Musikakademie.
1974: Began her adventure with the Hespèrion XX ensemble
1989: Foundation of La Capella Reial de Catalunya
2001 and 2002: Nomination for the Grammy Awards
2003: Monserrat Figueras received the title of "Officier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres" from the French government.
Six key recordings by Monserrat Figueras:
Ninna Nanna, ca. 1500-2002 Lullabies Montserrat Figueras - Hesperion XXI - Jordi Savall, dir.
ALIA VOX - 2003
Claudio Monteverdi: Arie e lamenti Montserrat Figueras (soprano) - A. Lawrence King (harp) - R. Lislevand (theorbo) - Ton Koopman (harpsichord and organ) - La Capella Reial de Catalunya - Jordi Savall (direction) ALIA VOX - 2009
The voice of emotion Montserrat Figueras - Hesperion XX
ALIA VOX - 1997
El cant e la Sibilla Montserrat Figueras - Jordi Savall
ALIA VOX - 2011
Isabel I Reina De Castilla Montserrat Figueras - La Capella Reial de Catalunya - Hesperion XXI - Jordi Savall, ed.
ALIA VOX - 2004
Canciones Y Danzas De Espana Montserrat Figueras - Hesperion XX - Jordi Savall, dir.
EMI - 1989