Corinne Winters (MM '07, Voice) has drawn unfettered praise from critics worldwide, had her image recently grace the cover of the Kennedy Center's magazine, and is booked for international performances for the next couple of years. But for now, she's conducting an interview on her cellphone while riding a city bus.
It's indicative of both her down-to-earth personality and the reality of life for a modern-day opera star. With the day's rehearsals of La bohème (she's Mimì) just ending, she was on her way home to her temporary apartment in Washington, D.C.
Singing has always been a part of Winters' life – her parents report that she sang before she talked. But she didn't even have a vocal lesson until someone recommended one when she was a high school senior in Frederick, MD.
"You definitely have an operatic instrument," the vocal teacher said, much to the teen's surprise. Winters went on to earn her bachelor's in music and psychology from Towson University before attending Peabody. After that, she landed a spot in Philadelphia's prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts – one of only 28 students in a four-year-long, tuition-free advanced educational program – where she learned the craft of singing and acting. From there, she immediately began landing leading roles in regional productions.
As her career has flourished, Winters has worked to cultivate her audience, interacting extensively with her fan base through social media. "The era of the hands-off diva is over," she says. "People want to hear from you and know you." At the same time, she needs to draw some boundaries if for no other reason than to maintain the intense focus that's part of the profession.
With past appearances in some of the leading productions in the U.S., England, and Hong Kong, as well as upcoming ones in Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy, Winters rarely stays in one place long. That can be wearying.
"It's difficult at times, the transitory lifestyle," she says. "But it's more than worth it because I get to do what I would do for free ... and that is sing."