Symphony opener aBy Tim Ryan
grand finale for Horne
"PEANUT," opera star Marilyn Horne's father said to his teenage daughter one day. "Whenever you think you're getting too good for the guy sitting next to you, remember, it's just a little piece of gristle in your throat that separates you from him."
"I've never forgotten that, ever," said the 5-foot-2 mezzo-soprano who this Saturday opens the Honolulu Symphony's Halekulani Classical MasterWorks series at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. She will sing French arias and folk song arrangements of Aaron Copeland.
Horne, who Opera News once called "the greatest singer in the world," is making her farewell classical music tour this year at 65. Her last performance will be Jan. 16 at Carnegie Hall.
What: Honolulu Symphony's Gala Symphony Opening with Marilyn Horne, Mezzo-Soprano; Sam Wong conducting
When: Saturday , 7 p.m.
Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall
Reception: The post-concert reception for Marilyn Horne has been moved from the Queen Emma Summer Palace to the Halekulani hotel's restaurant Orchids.
"This has all been a very good go, an incredible life in music," she said.
So why is Horne bowing out of the operatic scene?
"The (opera) voice isn't getting any better and I've been singing for 60 years," she said from her New York home. "It's different from what it was five years ago.
"But I'll continue to sing lighter music like Gershwin and Irving Berlin. I like to sing a lot of American classics, too, often as encores -- like 'The Man I Love,' 'In the Still of the Night,' and 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.'"
Horne also has turned to teaching each summer at the Music Academy of the West, which she heads as vocal director.
"With my touring slowing down I didn't want to just sit at home," Horne said. "I felt very strongly I could offer emerging young artists my knowledge.
"I've always loved the music ... whether it was opera or recitals. I wanted to do something for the next generation of singers."
"I have a lot to say and I know I can have really terrific results," she said. "I know what it takes to sing and about voice technique. Technique is everything."
Horne recalls an interview she heard with actor Lawrence Olivier years ago who was asked how he wanted to be remembered. "He said 'as a great technician,'" Horne recalled. "That's everything. In music you have to know how to sing on every note of your voice and how to support your voice with your air.
"So many young singers try to do the expression part before they know technique."
What: Vocal Master Class with Marilyn Horne
When: Sept. 13, 7 p.m.
Where: Orvis Auditorium, UH Music Department
Accompanist: Beebe Freitas, Associate Artistic Director, Hawaii Opera Theatre
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