Happy Birthday Marilyn Horne

Marilyn Horne(Photo: Decca)
Marilyn Horne(Photo: Decca)

I could never choose just one Marilyn Horne recording or the memory of just one performance.

Among my favorite performances of Horne are:

  • Orfeo at Tanglewood.
  • The Verdi Requiem in Carnegie Hall.
  • Carmen and Isabella, the lady from Algiers at the Met.
  • A recital in Boston’s Symphony Hall when I was a kid. 
  • Rosina in The Barber of Seville. 
  • Copland’s  Old American Songs at Carnegie Hall with Bernstein — the first such to raise money to fight AIDS.
  • A London performance of Messiah in Mozart’s orchestration is a favorite of mine.

Then there is when she told Johnnie Carson, “No fat cracks, please,” and threatened to give Tony Randall a fat lip on The Odd Couple

I’ve met Horne a few times. She was the guest quiz master on one of my last gigs with the lamented Metropolitan Opera Quiz.  Her first words off-mike were “Call me Jackie.”

Today Marilyn Horne is a teacher and mentor. I’m happy to know that at this writing she is being very good indeed, generous, supportive, maternal to a dear friend of mine who is battling cancer. “Miss Horne calls me every day.” I’m sure she’s helped many people in need-but you’ll never hear that from her. So hear it from me.

Happy birthday, gracious lady.