Opera Legend Marilyn Horne Returns to Oberlin in February

February 7, 2017

Erich Burnett

opera legend Marilyn Horne

The diva is back.

Marilyn Horne, the celebrated mezzo-soprano who has been called perhaps “the most influential singer in American history” by Opera News, returns to Oberlin in February to work with voice students and lead a pair of public master classes in conjunction with the Artist Recital Series.

Horne's visit, made possible by philanthropist Stephen Rubin, will be highlighted by master classes in Finney Chapel at 8 p.m. Friday, February 17, and 2 p.m. Sunday, February 19. The sessions will include music by Mozart, Bellini, Stravinsky, Verdi, and others.

Tickets to each master class are $5; admission is free with an Oberlin College ID and for subscribers to the Artist Recital Series.

Both master classes will be streamed live at oberlin.edu.

Among the Oberlin Conservatory singers selected to participate are Vanessa Croome, Sage DeAgro-Ruopp, Cory McGee, Amber Monroe, Santiago Pizarro, Daewon Seo, Elise Volkmann, Amy Weintraub, Elana Bell, and Olivia Boen.

Monroe and Bell both sang for Horne last year as well.

Amber Monroe with Marilyn Horne

“When I found out that I was picked to be in the master class, I was very scared and very nervous. I thought I don’t think I’m ready,” recalls Monroe (pictured right, with Horne in 2016), a fourth-year student from Youngstown, Ohio. “Even when I walked onstage, I had a hard time breathing because I was so nervous.”

Only a few phrases into her song, Monroe was interrupted by Horne, who could see the young singer was shaken. Horne helped Monroe settle into her performance, then praised her effusively.

“It was a great experience, and I am so thankful I went ahead and challenged myself,” Monroe says today. “She’s just a great person. She is direct, and she knows what she wants. However, she loves pouring her heart into the new generation.”

In 2013 Rubin, the president and publisher of Henry Holt & Co. and a longtime friend of Horne's, established the Marilyn Horne Professorship and Residency Fund. In addition to bringing Horne to campus, the fund provides financial assistance for career-advancement opportunities to the most promising voice students in the conservatory. Those students earn the designation "Rubin Scholars." Past recipients of the award include Meryl Dominguez '14, Emily Hopkins '15, Joshua Blue '16, Siena Miller ’16, and Juliana Zara ’16.

For more information on Marilyn Horne and other arts at Oberlin, visit the online Arts Guide.

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