Viva la Fiesta and Viva la Diva!
This summer, The Music Academy of the West presents the 2014 Carmen Celebration; a special series of events in honor of the legendary opera singer Marilyn Horne’s 80th birthday. As part of this series, the Music Academy has partnered with Old Spanish Days to celebrate Horne, director of the Music Academy’s voice program, in conjunction with her 80th birthday, and recognize her with the official title, “Honorary La Diva of Old Spanish Days.”
On July 23, from 5:30–7:30 p.m., the Music Academy hosts a special private event to commemorate this occasion. The program includes performances from the Music Academy’s production of Bizet’s Carmen and the 2014 Spirit of the Fiesta. (The Music Academy will present a new, fully staged production of Carmen, directed by David Paul, conducted by James Gaffigan, and featuring State Street Ballet dancers at Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre on August 1 and 3.)
“Marilyn Horne embodies the very spirit of our extraordinary performing arts & cultural community in Santa Barbara, and Old Spanish Days is the perfect partner to help us commemorate our Carmen Celebration in honor of her 80th birthday,” says Scott Reed, president of the Music Academy of the West. “We are thrilled to bestow this honor upon a legend, and true legacy of the Music Academy of the West.”
This year marks the 90th Anniversary of the Fiesta Historical Parade, one of the largest equestrian parades in the United States, which will take place on August 1. As part of the Carmen Celebration festivities, during the parade Horne will ride in an antique carriage sponsored by the Music Academy’s presenting sponsor, Montecito Bank & Trust.
The Granada Theatre will also commemorate the honor of Marilyn Horne’s title “Honorary La Diva of Old Spanish Days” on the theatre’s marquee.
Horne has long been recognized as one of the most influential artists to portray Carmen. Her first major professional engagement was in 1954, when she dubbed the singing voice of Dorothy Dandridge in the film Carmen Jones. Horne went on to sing the title role in Bizet’s Carmen to open the Metropolitan Opera’s 1972-73 season, which featured Leonard Bernstein as conductor, and earned a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 1974. Horne’s distinguished career has garnered her numerous honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gramophone magazine. She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995, received the National Medal of Arts in 1992, and has been inducted into the American Classical Music and Hollywood Bowl halls of fame. Among her worldwide prizes are the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters from France’s Ministry of Culture. She was named a National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors recipient in 2009.
Horne, who attended the Music Academy in 1953, has been a member of the Music Academy faculty since 1995, and has directed the Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997.
Please also note these upcoming performances.
• Opera Covers Performance in Lehmann Tuesday, Jul 22 at 3:15 p.m.
• Carmen Opera Performances, Friday, August 1 and Sunday, August 3
• Vocal Masterclass with Marilyn Horne, Wednesday, August 6
For more information, visit musicacademy.org.
Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 22, 2014.