The Wagnerian soprano who thought she’d never sing again is looking at a fuller diary than ever.

Frankly, 2008 was an annus horribilis for Australian dramatic soprano Lisa Gasteen. The Wagnerian specialist and star of the 2004 Adelaide Ringwas at the very peak of her considerable career when she began to suffer muscle spasms in her neck. So recurrent was the problem she was forced to put her singing career on hold and seriously thought that she would never be able to sing in public again.

As Brünnhilde in the Adelaide Ring

“Every time I opened my mouth, to sing, I would start to spasm”, she said. “It was always at the same pitch – maybe three minutes into my practice. I was trying to deal with that while coming to terms with my career looking like it was over.”

During this turmoil, the soprano was in the process of starting up her famous opera school in Queensland for young emerging artists and professionals. With the need to raise money for the school, she was left with no choice but to keep going: “It was obvious that the only way I was going to raise any kind of...

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