Marilyn Tyler

Obituary
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  • "Professor Tyler was a beautiful woman and an Inspiration to..."
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Marilyn Tyler

12/5/26-12/20/17



It is with sadness that we report the passing of an elegant operatic performer and impresario,

Marilyn Tyler, nee Mary Teitler.

Marilyn was born into a family of performers in New York City that included singers, dancers, musicians, actors and clowns. She received a classical musical education and was proficient in piano, organ and harp. She attended the Manhattan School of Music which later awarded her a Professor Emerita, M.M. She eventually landed in Europe after being awarded two Fulbright scholarships. It was there she found her passion and her home in opera. She lived primarily in Amsterdam while performing throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. At times she said the marquees proclaimed her "the soprano from Brooklyn." Her operatic career spanned over 25 years during which she sang in over 70 operas in eight languages. Tyler also sang and recorded many works with the BBC, and received the UNESCO Award for the best recording of a contemporary composition for orchestra and soprano.

As a soloist, she worked with many notable conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Sir Georg Solti, Bernard Haitink, Jean Fournet, Charles Groves, and many others. The major orchestras she sang with include the Boston Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, The New York Philharmonic, Concertgebouw, the Vienna Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, the Cologne Radio Symphony, the Vienna Radio Orchestra, the Saint Cecilia Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Canadian Symphony, and the Frankfurt Symphony. She once let it slip that it was her recording of the Ride of the Valkyries that was used in the movie Apocalypse Now.

In the late 1970s, she moved to Tehran, Iran to direct for the Western-style Iran Opera, created by Empress Farah Diba. After the Iranian Revolution of 1979, she remained in Iran for nine months before escaping into Pakistan, where she became the director of the U.S. Information Service's Pakistan-American Cultural Center in Karachi. Tyler remained there for two years until the U.S. Embassy in Karachi was attacked and she was again displaced.

After a two year teaching stint at the University of Jacksonville in Florida, Marilyn came to the University of New Mexico and ran its Opera department from 1983 until her retirement in 2011. UNM's opera program thrived under Tyler's direction and her students have been the recipients of major awards and currently appear on international opera stages. UNM's Opera Theatre has been the recipient of three National Opera Association Awards. We all remember her spectacular productions which filled Popejoy Hall including The Magic Flute, Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Madame Butterfly, The Merry Widow and others. Phenomenal productions continued after the operas were confined to Keller Hall. During this time Marilyn was also the General Director of the International Opera Academy in Rome, a summertime mentorship program of international opera students. With the assistance of Father Michael Donleavy and many others they presented operas at the Collegio de San Clemente in Rome.

She remained a cogent and unique woman giving treasured voice lessons and correcting diction up to her death. She will be missed for her unlimited talents for teaching, her incredible story telling, and her gypsy intuition.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her long time companion Dr. George Simson. She is survived by her brother Earl Franklin Teitler; her two nieces Nuria Janine Teitler and Nathalie Susanna Teitler in England; her adopted family of Mitch, Lynn, Anna and Philip Simson; and hundreds of colleagues, students and friends in the Fine Arts. As per her request she has been cremated by French Mortuary and no public funeral service will be held. Her memorial service is pending. In lieu of flowers contributions in her memory may be made to your preferred organization.

Published in Albuquerque Journal from Dec. 31, 2017 to Jan. 7, 2018