Montserrat Figueras, the Catalan early music soprano renowned for performances of early music, and wife of Jordi Savall, has died aged 69.
Together with her husband, the viol player and conductor, they greatly enriched the early music scene with their explorations of the music and culture of their Spanish heritage, through their ensemble Hespèrion XX (later XXI) and their own label Alia Vox. Followers of their work came to expect, and were rewarded with, musically thrilling performances rich in vitality and exploratory inventiveness.
The label become known for beautifully recorded and presented releases of thoughtfully-curated thematic projects, not just of Spanish music, but exploring the links between early music and other areas and genres, whether of Europe or regions including the Middle East.
But while very much at the heart of those wonderful collaborative endeavours, she was acclaimed in her own right too. One of her recent recordings, from 2006, 'Lux Feminæ', was a presentation of femininity, though might also have served as a presentation of Figueras’s remarkable versatility. As Gramophone's critic Mary Berry wrote at the time: ‘She can be dramatic or passionate, facetious or sorrowful; a young girl who wants her freedom and is only restrained with difficulty, and a saintly soul in a mystical union with God'.
Montserrat Figueras, soprano
March 15, 1942 - November 23, 2011