Marilyn Horne Jane Scovell My lifeMarilyn Horne
with Jane Scovell

My life

Atheneum Books, 1983

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This is the amazing autobiography of a remarkable woman and stunning mezzosoprano, Marilyn Horne. I would like to say that this book is the appropriate companion to Horne’s singing because you will find in her writing all the liveliness and energy she displayed on the stage. She is also very frank and entertaining when she tells her anecdotes, but, especially at the beginning, you may feel she had said too much. This is only a temporary impression, anyway, because, when you will be accustomed to her, you will appreciate this feature. She is a real storyteller.

Horne pictures with particular love and care her first years and the years just before the beginning of her great career (it takes almost half of the book), when she was living with her family, about which she talks with love and gratitude, and described some important encounters with first-rate artists: Henry Lewis, Horne’s former husband, and Joan Sutherland hold a special place, of course, but not less important is Lily Lehmann, to whom Horne dedicated half a chapter and many mentions later. There is also irony in Horne’s pages and apparently she cannot talk about anything without it, but the most important aspect of her life she treats with irony it is not a musical one… it is food.

For what concerns her career, Horne does not talk too much, i.e. she does not flatter herself, but makes no mystery about her merits and her achievements. I think this is the best way to express something like that without losing the reader’s sympathy.

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