I just read one of the best responses to a hostile review that I’ve ever seen. A critic with a longtime vendetta against Montserrat CaballĂ© wrote of her Covent Garden performance in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims in July 1992, calling her “cette poissarde des Ramblas de Barcelone” (this vulgar fishwife from Barcelona’s Ramblas).

Since one of the spectacular Barcelona markets is within hailing distance of the Gran Teatre del Liceu on the Rambla of her hometown, she was able to respond with authority: “Our fishwives are wonderful women with extraordinarily rich and powerful voices.”