Before you know it, the holidays will come and go, leaving us with inevitable resolutions. Whether it’s jettisoning carbohydrates, noticing the key fob which tells you what gym you pay for every month, or finally finishing that great novel, many of us will make and break a great promise to ourselves. If you are still among those who succumb to this annual tradition, I invite you to add to the list a pledge to find your inner Brunnhilde.
This entry isn’t so much about the iconic Wagnerian character, as much as it is about a college classmate who is playing the role to great acclaim. In fact she’s considered possibly the greatest dramatic soprano of our time, and preparing to don the horns and breastplate for her 2019 turn at the Met's production of The Ring. The performance will likely cement her reputation as an all time opera heavyweight, and yet the casual fan will be completely unaware that she almost didn’t go into singing at all.
Christine started off as a woodwind player, with the goal of becoming a high school band director. According to her, she was a pretty bad clarinetist, which the faculty soon discovered. She switched gears and declared to family that she was going to be an opera singer and one day sing at the Met, an aspiration roughly on par with waking up one day and declaring you’re going to play for the Yankees. Problem was, she had never really sung before. Long story short, we all watched her first at chilly SUNY Fredonia, and then at SUNY Stony Brook explode into a dynamic lyric soprano. One tour de force role after another, and here we are.
What is your inner Brunnhilde? Does it exist within you despite a perceived artistic, creative, or even spiritual shortcoming? What if you woke up on January 1 and declared you will win a Pulitzer, a Nobel, or a spot in the Philharmonic? What if you went into it knowing you will probably fail in your resolution, but succeed in voicing it aloud? We can’t all wear a breastplate at the Met, but we can tell ourselves what we want, what we need, and maybe take some baby steps in a way that is healthy and fulfilling. See you at the opera.