When people find out what I do, they usually give me a look of surprise or disbelief. I sing opera. I have pink hair, tattoos, piercings, funky glasses, and I sing opera. I didn’t choose opera; opera chose me. It wasn’t until I started performing opera that I fell in love. Yes, I fell in love with the music and the characters (yada yada yada) but what really changed me was the connection. I fell in love with making honest and intense connections with the people around me through this larger than life art form. When I put myself out there and let go of all of my doubts and fears and truly open myself up it’s like flipping on a light switch. When I sing bravely it opens up a world of possible connections. My favorite connection to make is with the audience. As someone who wasn’t always a fan of opera I am extremely passionate about breaking down the stereotype that you have to be an old rich white person to like opera. That is why I donate my time and talents to Opera on Tap, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing opera to the people in non-traditional settings such as bars and breweries. And let me tell you it’s a lot easier to sing bravely when the audience is enjoying a tasty beer flight.
Jessie is a Nashville Opera ensemble member and a co-managing diva of Opera on Tap, Nashville.