The mezzo-soprano will appear to discuss her life and career as rare film and video footage of her performances is presented. Clips to be shown include excerpts from her various engagements in Europe, at the Metropolitan Opera, Live from Lincoln Center concerts and her appearances on The Tonight Show and The Carol Burnett Show. Surprise guests will be among those honoring Horne as well.
Horne, who has been called "the greatest singer in the world" by Opera News, was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1934. She took part in Lotte Lehmann's masterclasses at the University of Southern California, where she studied with William Vennard, and made her Los Angeles debut in 1954 as Hšta in Smetana's The Bartered Bride. Horne caught the attention of Igor Stravinsky around this time and spent three seasons (1956-59) at the Gelsenkirchen Opera. Her first appearances at San Francisco Opera (1960) and Covent Garden (1964) as Marie in Wozzeck followed.
In 1970, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Adalgisa in Bellini's Norma (with longtime collaborative partner Joan Sutherland in the title role). Horne would go on to sing over 250 times at the prominent opera house, emerging as an unrivaled champion of operas by Handel and Rossini.
She announced her retirement from performing in 1998 and later established a foundation to preserve the art of vocal recitals. Horne, who has given over 1,300 song recitals, started the eponymous foundation out of concern for the tradition, which she felt was in jeopardy due to talented singers becoming increasingly seduced by careers in opera. The foundation sponsors residencies for 16 to 20 singers annually, providing them with performance opportunities in schools and venues nationwide.
Information on and tickets to tomorrow's event are available at www.metguild.org.