One thing that most artists can agree on is that nothing is guaranteed. Creative minds are almost always aware that the pathway is never set in stone. There’s no one-stop shop to becoming an artist, but how great would that be? Imagine going to college saying “I’d like to be an opera singer, please.” The college could say, “Certainly! Here’s your certificate. Now go be an opera singer.” Nothing is that simple though, right? I remember a cute saying from my childhood. I believe it was something like, “Life’s tough. Get a helmet.” If that isn’t the understatement of the year, I don’t know what is.
Uncertainty is scary, and artists face it constantly. For some, it’s “Will I land my dream job?” For others, it’s “Will I be able to put food on the table for my family today?” And now, for the first time in any of our lifetimes, the universal question might be “Will life ever go back to the way it was?” The short answer? No. No, it won’t. But maybe that’s a good thing. As all artists also know, there’s no pleasure without pain, no joy without sorrow, and no life without death. Without the bad, we wouldn’t know how truly good the good can be. And for those of us fortunate enough to not be physically or financially suffering, perhaps now is the time to change our perspective. With all the bad that’s happening in the world, there is also that much good happening, and what a glorious thing that is.
When I think about the future of Steel City Opera, I ask myself what is the purpose? What can we do to make a difference in our communities? Opera is more than just fancy singing. It’s raw, and soulful, and has the power to bring laughter to a child or move a man to tears. So how can we create opera that reflects humanity today? Sure some stories never die, but there are new stories to be told and new artists that have a voice to be heard. I hope that out of this struggle there emerges beautiful creations. Works of art that are unlike any others. If you’re an artist–or even if you’re not–go create something. Change something. I think that if we do that, we will come out of this uncertain time stronger. We will have found a greater purpose. Maybe even a resolution to live more…and to sing like no one is listening.
Until then, be well and just keep singing.