Jessie Neilson

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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.

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