Monday, October 27, 2008

re Marilyn Horne

from Rebecca Kaplan Boroson • Random Kinds of Blogging
Published: 09 October 2008

The great soprano Marilyn Horne wrote in her autobiography (1983) about an incident that occurred during the time she was studying in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. A bunch of American singers, including a black baritone, were in a café one night “when a group of townfolk came in and drank themselves into advanced loutishness. One of the brutes detached himself, walked over to our table and stood weaving behind the baritone. He flopped his arms around the singer’s chest, gave him a bear hug and announced loudly, ‘You are a black man, but we don’t mind you or your color. It’s the Jews we don’t like!’”

Horne wrote, “That’s all I needed to hear. I jumped up from my seat and proclaimed, ‘Well, I’m Jewish, so get the hell out of here!’”

The drunk quickly returned to his companions, and they left the café.

The baritone took Horne’s outstretched hand.

“Gee,” he said, “I’m really sorry that happened” — adding sincerely, “I didn’t know you were Jewish.”

She wasn’t and isn’t.

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