Marilyn Horne

American mezzo-soprano (Bradford, 1934 - )

Mezzo-soprano Marylin Horne is in line with the first half of the 19th century’s great Belcanto voices such as Maria Malibran or Pauline Viardot. Théophile Gautier described these voices as “so feminine and yet so masculine! Juliet and Romeo in the same gullet!’’.

Born in Pennsylvania, Marylin Horne took her first singing lessons with her tenor father before continuing her musical studies at the University of South Carolina with Gwendolyn Koldofsky and William Vennard. There, she also participated in Lotte Lehman's master classes. Very quickly, feeling uncomfortable in her range she decided to work her medium voice while singing her last roles as a lyrical soprano in 1958 at the Gelsenkirchen Opera House. In 1964, her performances in Rossini's Semiramis and Bellini’s Norma with Joan Sutherland under the direction of Richard Bonynge propelled her to the greatest stages, where she contributed to the rebirth of Rossini's operas such as The Siege of Corinth, L'italiana in Algeri or Tancredi. She also breathed new life into Handel's works, notably by performing Rinaldo during the composer's three-hundredth anniversary in 1985.

Marylin Horne's long career in opera and concert activities led her to win numerous prizes: Grand Prix du Disque, three Grammy Awards and many more.

Six landmark dates in the life of Marylin Horne:

1954: Doubled Dorothy Dandridge in Oscar Hammerstein's film Carmen Jones.
1960: Married conductor and double bassist Henry Lewis
1978: Sang Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso in Venice, conducted by Pier Luigi Pizzi.
1992: Received the Médaille Nationale des Arts
1997: Head of the Music Academy of the West of Santa Barbara’s vocal department
2004: Publication of her autobiography Marylin Horn: the Song continues

Biography from Radio France’s Musical Documentation, January 2014