Graduate voice student and international soprano Julie Davies sang for the dedication of the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center in Marilyn Horne Hall at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford on Saturday, May 6, 2017. The museum serves as a tribute to the great American mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne, who graced the stages of the world’s major opera houses and recital halls for over four decades, and continues to inspire the next generation of opera singers through teaching and mentorship. A winner of the National Medal of Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, and four Grammy Awards, Ms. Horne personally selected Ms. Davies, bass baritone DeAndre Simmons, and pianist Martin Katz to perform for the dedication ceremony. All three performers and Ms. Horne are alumni of the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, where Ms. Horne has been a member of the faculty since 1995, and Director of the Voice Program since 1997.
The museum includes many items donated by Ms. Horne, including replicas of costumes from memorable performances at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1970s, photographs, event posters, musical scores, and more. Interactive features teach visitors about opera and vocal music, while interviews and sound clips of Ms. Horne performing provide a glimpse into her impressive career.
Ms. Davies shared with us a few of her most memorable moments with Ms. Horne, as well as how Ms. Horne’s teaching and mentorship have influenced her own career.
When did you first meet Ms. Horne?
I met Marilyn Horne at the University of Oklahoma, during a TMEA master class she was giving on campus and for which I had been chosen as the singer.
How is her teaching style unique?
Ms. Horne follows the technique of master teachers such as Lotte Lehmann (who was her teacher) in engaging the voice in sotto voce at every pitch and on every vowel.
How has she influenced you and your career?
Ms. Horne has been the master teacher of myself and many others. To me, she is my life teacher. I would call her from Germany before accepting a role, and she would see the role in her mind's eye and immediately tell me what the most treacherous parts were and at times, suggest that I wait for certain roles.
What is your fondest memory with Ms. Horne?
I have many fond memories with Ms. Horne. One was my debut at the Music Academy of the West in 2006, singing the leading role of Corinna (a virgin) while I was pregnant with my son. When I arrived in Santa Barbara that summer, she asked in the panel of teachers -- Julie, is there something you'd like to tell us? They laughed...then she said -- she needs a high waist. And that was the joke amongst everyone that summer -- Julie playing the virgin while with child.
About Julie Davies
Ms. Davies began her international opera career in Darmstadt, Germany in 2011, where she was highly praised for her performances of the title roles in La Traviata, La Sonnambula, and Lucia di Lammermoor. Other roles Ms. Davies performed to great acclaim include: Norina in Don Pasquale, Nedda in I Pagliacci, and Gerhilde in Die Walküre, as well as all four heroines in The Tales of Hoffmann. Most recently, Ms. Davies performed Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with the Opéra National de Paris (2015), Marzelline in Fidelio with Rio de Janeiro (2015), and the Junges Mädchen in the co-production of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron (which was televised world-wide in 2015) with Paris and Madrid (2016). She will sing the role of Gerhilde in Wagner’s “Ring” in Madrid in the 2019-20 season. Ms. Davies is a three-time alumna of the Music Academy of the West. Ms. Davies will tour Germany and Austria in recital this summer in promotion of her first CD release, featuring works by Bellini, Liszt, Schubert, and Wagner (click here to listen/purchase). Ms. Davies is currently a DMA student at UC Santa Barbara, studying with Dr. Linda Di Fiore.
To learn more about Julie Davies, please visit julie-davies.com.
To learn more about the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center, please visit upb.pitt.edu/marilynhorne/.
Photos from the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center opening by Alan Hancock.
Photo of Marilyn Horne and Julie Davies at the Music Academy of the West, courtesy of the artist.
June 15, 2017 - 3:25pm