(January 16, 1934)
Marilyn Horne is an American operatic mezzo soprano famous for her brilliant interpretations of roles requiring a large beauteous sound, with wonderful tone and the skill of being able to execute difficult coloratura passages.
Early in her career she voiced the role of Carmen Jones for Dorothy Dandridge in the film of Carmen Jones with Harry Belafonte- but that was only the beginning of many greater things to come.
At first she dabbled between soprano and mezzo roles. She basically thought she was a soprano with a low register.
She sang the Barber of Seville - a light soprano part after she had debuted singing the contralto role of Hata in The Bartered Bride- then followed it with Hansell in Hansell & Gretel (a mezzo role) before singing Cenerentolla.
It was around this time she found that Verdi did not sit ideally within her range but noticed that roles like Semiramide (low range) suited her ideally.
It was only after she sang Norma with Joan Sutherland then followed it with Semiramide that she discovered her true path was in the lower register roles.
What made her so extraordinary was the fact that as big as her voice was it was extremely agile and could move with incredible flexibility.
Since then she has gone on to perform in most of the world's most prestigious opera houses, specialising in works of Rossini famous for her deft breath control and accurate florid passages.
A longtime friend of Joan Sutherland the two performed together regularly in performances of Norma and Semiramide. In concert the aria from Norma- Mira O Norma was always a crowd favourite.
Marilyn Horne is now retired but ocassionally does crossover "stints" appearing on Broadway with Barbara Cook- and on the recording of The King & I with Julie Andrews and Ben Kingsley she sings the role of Lady Thiang.
Marilyn Horne is pictured here as Carmen.
Marilyn Horne is one of the featured stars on our "Legends" product range.