Violetta has become such an integral part of Corinne Winters’s operatic trajectory, that she has inked a large tattoo of a camellia — the courtesan’s signature flower — on her shoulder. “Camellias are unique because they whither quickly when cut,” says the lyric soprano. “Violetta is almost a camellia herself, a beautiful flower that only lasted a moment in full bloom. Camellias remind me to live in the moment, savoring it before it’s gone.” Considering the splash she has made in her signature role around the world, Winters seems destined to bloom much longer than Violetta’s camellia. Since Musical America first caught up with her in 2012, she has performed the role in 10 productions from Detroit to Hong Kong.
Her European debut in Peter Konwitschny’s production of La traviata at English National Opera in 2013 landed her on the cover of the U.K.’s Opera magazine. Her appearances in the 2017 Richard Eyre staging at the Royal Opera House were simulcast on large screens throughout the U.K.
But she’s not limiting herself to singing “Sempre libera” forever. Her February 2017 debut of the title role of Katya Kabanaova in Seattle Opera’s first-ever mounting of the Janáček opera was described in Opera News as “febrile and ecstatic.” She’ll reprise Tatiana in Eugene Onegin at Michigan Opera Theater next fall, reuniting with her longtime Opera Theater of St. Louis mentor, Stephen Lord. And just announced, she’ll debut the role of Rachel in La
Juive at Opera Vlaanderen in early 2019.
One of her favorite roles, Desdemona in Otello, reaped a bonus. Last year, she married Adam Smith, a British tenor whom she met while he was singing Cassio to her Desdemona in Belgium. “There are times in life where there just isn’t a question that it’s the right next step to take,” she told Australia’s Herald Sun. “With opera and my husband it has felt like that—like I don’t have a choice. It’s that strong of a pull.”