Freddie was enjoying a renaissance in his personal and professional life in his final years. As well as reuniting with Queen, he was pursuing solo projects. He was in a happy committed relationship with Jim Hutton. One of his deepest and most cherished dreams was coming true when one of his greatest idols called him up and wanted to work with him. It is so wonderful to watch his last ever filmed interview and see him so full of life. He also talked about how had also made peace with being “the great pretender” and leading a double life. You can watch the full interview wbelow.
The interview was recorded in early 1987 by Austrian filmmaker Rudi Dolezal who filmed the Freddie Mercury documentary Lover of Life, Singer of Songs.
The Queen star was talking about his latest solo work, the single The Great Pretender, which reached number four of the UK charts that year. He also revealed his enormous thrill and shock when opera legend Montserrat Caballe called him up to create their iconic duet Barcelona. It’s charming to see such a huge figure totally starstruck.
He said: “She just called up a few weeks go and said she’d love to work with me. I fell flat on the floor. I thought, ‘My God!’ But I’ve loved her for years.”
“I went to Barcelona on a TV show and I said she’s the best singer in the world and I’d love to sing with her and she must have seen it. She called up the office and said she’s like to do things.
“It’s amazing. I’m into opera now. Forget rock n roll.
“It’s such a challenge, I’ve never thought of writing songs like that.
“I’m sure the opera critics will slam it but it’s a good challenge at this time in life.”
Scroll down to watch the full interview below
Freddie was little shocked how fast she wanted it all done, “Like, tomorrow.”
He also didn’t realise quite how busy opera stars are, with their diaries usually packed out years in advance: “She looked up her schedule and she said ‘I have three days spare in May!’ So, I’ve gotta have it all prepared. I think that’s pushing it!”
Of course, he rose to the challenge and created the song and album Barcelona.
Freddie also talked about how he has learned to switch off his stage persona in his real life.
He said: “It’s the stuff I do. It’s like acting. So you go on stage and I pretend to be a macho man and all that. In my videos you go through all the characters and you’re pretending anyway.
“The meaning in the song is that he is pretending about love but I take it a stage further.
“The way I see it is that all this is a pretence. It’s fun.”