“Marilyn Horne may be the most influential singer in American history.”
– Opera News, January 2002
Great Interpreters: Marilyn Horne
Broadcast “live” on Fine Music Radio on 29 February 2008.
Known for her powerful voice, impressive range, lyrical tone and stunning vocal pyrotechnics, mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne is widely regarded as “the finest Rossini singer of her generation,” and “the finest mezzo-soprano of modern times.” In 1981, Opera News declared her “the greatest singer in the world” and when the New York Times selected the 10 greatest singers of all time, Marilyn Horne was the only living singer chosen.
Horne is without a doubt one of the greatest mezzo-sopranos in opera history and possibly one of the greatest Rossini interpreters ever. Her long and distinguished career has spanned more than 40 years, and her contributions to opera live on in her numerous recordings. In 2007, she was honoured by the Metropolitan Opera Guild as the first in a series of Met Legends who have left an indelible stamp on their art. As Raymond McGill notes, hers has been one of the most prodigious and remarkable careers of any classical musician in the past half century and her vocal achievements are now part of operatic history.
Horne has conquered virtually every major opera house in every corner of the repertory, bringing to all of them a vibrant sensitivity, beauty, and sheer magnetism that remain unsurpassed. According to The New York Times, Horne is “surely the most American of all operatic singers, and in the best sense: a can-do technical command of the voice, ready intelligence, Protestant work ethic in excelsis, firm grounding in the popular culture and a melting-pot versatility.”