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4.6 out of 5 stars228
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 17 January 2013
Barcelona is the finest showcase of Freddie's voice and was originally intended to be a fusion of pop and opera. The original synth backed album was a vocal triumph, but to hear it with a full orchestra is simply incredible and pays full respect to its forebear.

The overall effect is to give many of the songs more emotional power and drama. Some will rave about this because it does sound like it was recorded in a philharmonic hall rather than as a studio session. I had reservations because I felt that such an approach may undermine Freddie's original vision to get "her voice on my music" which he exclaimed on having accomplished with Monserrat Caballe. Basically, in removing the original score, it could be argued this isn't his music anymore and it sounds less like a pop-opera album and more a pop album in the opera style.

I think the latter argument wins the day convincingly from first listen. The original sounds dated, flat and tinny compared to this sublime re-working. This is superior in every-way and a genuinely new experience for all of Freddie's fans. If Queen could go back and re-record Hot Space in a similar way (i.e with instruments without synths) perhaps another classic album could be found.
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on 31 January 2013
I love the vocals of Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe and the oustandingly beautiful melodies played by the talented
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on 4 November 2012
I was a Queen fan in their early days when they were primarily a rock band. Blues and rock are my main genre but I do try and listen to anything if it's good. I purchased this on the strengh of a Freddie Murcury documentary on Sky Arts recently. I do like some Opera as the music and melodies can make the hairs on your body stand up, so I thought I'd give Barcelona a try.
The orchestrations by Stuart Morley and the FILMharmonic orchestra are without doubt superb but there was very little that made the hairs on my body stand up. Maybe I was expecting too much having been spoilt some beautiful pieces in Opera or may be I got it wrong and it was not meant to be an operatic album. However I'm glad I bought it as Freddie and Montserrat Caballe are excellent. I especially liked tracked 6 "Guide me Home" and track 7 "How Can I go on" which is ironic as Freddie was Ill and died five years later. Yes it's a good album but not as good as I expected.
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on 14 October 2012
This update of orchestration is superb but leaves Freddie and Montserrat plenty of space to do their thing. The extras (videos, remixes, and outtakes) and the book format to house everything with a full colour booklet in the middle has made this a fabulous package that I am very happy to be adding to my music collection.
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on 25 July 2013
I became a Queen fan after the release of Bohemian Rhapsody which added a whole new dimension to this extraordinarily gifted group. Within this could be seen the classical influences that were to continue to be a part of Freddie Mercury's creativity for the rest of his life. Barcelona showcases this very well and it was a stroke of genius to bring Freddie and Montserrat Caballe together to record the material on this album.

Doubtless more than a few classical purists would have recoiled in horror that Montserrat should agree to such a collaboration but the end result would certainly have been strong encouragement for many Queen fans to include classical music in their choice of musical preferences.

I say "Bravo" and if this is not in your collection - you have a serious gap that needs to be filled!
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on 18 November 2012
Was really looking forward to this arriving and listening to a full orchestra playing with Freddie Mercury, but was disappointed, Freddie was great, but I was not impressed with the orchestral backing, sound quality did not help. I felt it was a bit of a let down.
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on 2 January 2013
The diference between this version and the original is awesome. Have a full orchestra backing both singers is just unbelievable, especially with volume!
For those who collect Queen or Freddie Mercury this is a must have.
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on 18 November 2012
Freddie Mercury and Queen had passed me by - or I them -though I do remember hearing the title song "Barcelona" and thinking that, rather surprisingly, the combination of Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe worked well. Recently, a television programme on Freddie Mercury used Barcelona and other footage from his work with Montserrat Caballe. I was interested and decided to buy the album. The remastering has allowed orchestration to be introduced and the voices added over this. It is a stunning result: the voices blend, complement each other and produce a full palette of sound, ranging from soft and dreamlike, through lyrical to bold triumphal noise. Such a tragedy there couldn't have been more .... .
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on 14 September 2012
Note - This Review is for Barcelona Special Edition CD Only

As a journalist who has closely followed both Queen and Freddie Mercury's career paths I was extremely eager to hear this new release.

So how do I rate it?

Mixed feelings really.

Even before I had listened to the album I was rather underwhelmed by the artwork.

Queen and Freddie Mercury were such perfectionists (control freaks actually) who personally oversaw the design of every album cover.

The cover here is lazy. Although the album notes explain how Freddie and Montserrat met etc., the whole feel and appearance looks rather shoddy. Unlike any other Freddie Mercury release.

Even the first re-release of the Barcelona album had a handsome still photo of Freddie and Montserrat strutting their stuff during the Barcelona promo video and a lovely portrait of the pair to its rear side.

So, what about the music?

There is no doubt that the 80 piece orchestra has added some va va voom to Freddie and Mike Moran's original offering, which was virtually (more on this soon!) put together via synthesisers.

However, I simply do not buy into the album and PR blurb's claims that Freddie may have felt out of his comfort zone employing the use of a live orchestra at the time of Barcelona's recording.

Indeed, Freddie had laid down vocals above orchestral music on his Mr Bad Guy album and who can forget his powerhouse performance on the Queen hit Who Wants to Live Forever?

There were a few reasons why Freddie did not use a full orchestra for the recording of Barcelona.

Time was of the essence. Freddie was extremely ill and was also obligated to start work on what he thought was Queen's last album release, The Miracle.

There was also no doubt there being a cost element of having a full orchestra - they certainly don't come cheap.

Freddie's previous solo album Mr Bad Guy had by all accounts - well according to the music executives footing the bill - been an expensive flop.

Anyhow, synthesised orchestral music is indeed highly passable - just like the real McCoy.

Most film soundtracks are recorded in this way. Composers say it totally eliminates musician error and indeed optimises the sound quality of the music - no turning of score pages, human noise, etc.,

We are getting deep here - an analogy . . . GM food . . .it tastes ok! So why shouldn't synthesised music overseen by Messrs Mercury and Moran sound ok and be left alone for evermore?

Both Queen and Freddie commonly recorded like this - the Great Pretender, The Miracle, Was it all Worth it? - to name just a few ditties.

I actually think Freddie and Mike's original offering was excellent. They did actually use various live instruments on the original release - read the album notes! And I quote - cello, harp, violin, horn, percussion . . . even John Deacon plucked bass for How Can I Go On.

We digress again.

And again you ask: What about the new music - because that is what it is - on this new 'Special Edition' release?

It's ok. It's rather safe without ever getting into fifth gear. However, some real energy and drive has been added to Barcelona, La Japonaise, Fallen Priest and Golden Boy.

But the orchestration always sounds rather like a stage musical than serious Covent Garden opera.

Exhibit one. The orchestration has been presided over by the same chap, Stuart Morley, responsible for musical direction on Queen's hit musical We Will Rock You. Apart from sounding like a prosecuting lawyer I'm also beginning to sound like a classical music prig! But I'm not. Honest.

This album is another person's interpretation or variation (maybe I am a classical prig) of existing pieces of music.

One further criticism that I feel is valid is that the orchestra does drown out both Freddie and Montserrat's vocals periodically on the album. A flaw down to the album's production? Certainly.

All in all, this release is interesting and is still a worthwhile addition to any Freddie fan's music collection.

Still add to cart!
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on 30 January 2013
A great item that was delivered quickly and in great condition. The cd gives a really interesting in to Mercury's search for a musical genre that was more than his trademark rock.
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