Norman Lebrecht talks to American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, tracing her career from pirate recordings of pop songs in the 1950s to the major mezzo Bel Canto roles.
Norman Lebrecht talks to the American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, tracing her career from precocious Shirley Temple sound-alike, to pirate recordings of pop songs in the 1950s, to dubbing the title role in the movie of the Oscar Hammerstein musical Carmen Jones, and finally the breakthrough to the major mezzo Bel Canto roles of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti for which she was justly famed. She also talks about her experience of early masterclasses with the veteran singer Lotte Lehmann and how the sometimes unhappy experience of that has influenced her approach to helping young singers and teaching masterclasses in her retirement. She discusses her relationship with other musicians such as Stravinsky, Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge. In her frank and direct manner she also reveals to Norman Lebrecht the difficulties she had with her family when she married the black conductor Henry Lewis.