When I arrived in Winterthur the day before my first rehearsal for Alma Mahler’s “Fünf Lieder”, I took a small walk around the city, popped my head into the hall to listen to the incredible Kalena Bovell and the Musikkollegium Winterthur orchestra rehearse, and then sat outside at a cafe with a cup of coffee. An overwhelming feeling of peace and happiness washed over me, and I reminded myself to hold onto that feeling. Throughout every rehearsal and performance during the week, that feeling grew. I remember a distinct moment during the second performance where Maestra and I took advantage of an especially juicy moment in the score. I felt the vibrations of the lush orchestra swell behind me and I thought “I’m just so happy right now!”
In a youth-obsessed classical music industry where artists are expected to be finished products by 25, I might be considered a late bloomer. To be honest, I thought I was a finished product when I was 25, but life would have so much more to teach me before I could be the artist I am today. In my late 20s I left an unhealthy marriage. For the first time in my life, I began to examine who I was as a person; not who others wanted me to be, not who I should pretend to be in order to be safe, but who I was and what I wanted to share with the world. Simultaneously, I began to navigate a Fach change as my voice matured and the coloratura/soubrette repertoire in which I began my career no longer fit my growing voice.
This change was terrifying and exhilarating, and what followed would be a long road of vocal and emotional rediscovery. I’m not everywhere I want to be (yet) or as busy as I want to be (yet); but I finally love the voice I’m singing with and I feel confident that I have something special and unique to say. I’ve spent these Summer and Autumn months making incredible music with incredible world-class musicians in places I never thought I would be! I’m in the kind of loving and supportive marriage that I never imagined for myself, where I’m constantly being encouraged to spread my wings and where I’m always being inspired to reach new heights. We have made a new and exciting life for ourselves in a new country! I have so much love in my life from my beautiful family and my friends who feel like family. I’m even meeting people and forming new and meaningful friendships in my 30s! I’m learning a new language! I’m singing repertoire that absolutely lights up my soul!
I know that the younger version of myself would be amazed at what my life looks like now. It’s my inclination to never be satisfied and to always push myself to achieve my next and bigger goal, and while I don’t want that drive to go anywhere, I want to make sure I luxuriate in all the happiness along the way. Life can be cruel and short, and these moments are so precious.