The opera performance “Eugene Onegin” by Tchaikovsky came to a close. Tears rushing down her face, she clapped loudly. Senior Vocal Performance major, Danielle Feinstein had made her decision. ‘I’m going to do that,’ she told her grandmother.
Feinstein’s grandmother, who is one of her biggest inspirations, also has a mutual appreciation for opera, and encouraged her to utilize her love of the art form. Even before seeing “Eugene Onegin,” Feinstein sat in front of her sixth grade classroom belting the words to a KT Tunstall song — and her passion has only grown since.
“I was swaying back and forth, and had my eyes closed, just singing my heart out,” Feinstein says. “I was so nervous, but at the end, everyone stood up and gave me a round of applause. That’s where I realized, ‘oh, I’m a good singer.’ It took off from there.”
Feinstein got involved in the Artist-in-Training Program with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and started learning about the opera scene. She has had many different exciting experiences both in college and outside of it. Last fall, she won the Concerto and Aria Competition, which was an opportunity for vocalists to play or sing with the full Webster Orchestra in one of their concerts.
“That was probably the first time that I went on stage and I sang as well as I possibly could’ve,” Feinstein says. “I left it all on the floor — I walked off that stage and I was so empowered.”
She has participated in the Crescendo Program with Union Avenue Opera, taking master classes on stage makeup, acting and auditions. Feinstein took voice lessons while studying abroad in Vienna, and has even sung with Grammy-award winning Opera singer, Christine Brewer, as well as internationally-renown soprano, Erie Mills. Both opportunities were provided through Webster University. With all of her experiences on stage, Feinstein can now distinguish the most significant point of her performances.
“It’s the moments afterwards — after the performance, after the applause, when I’ve walked off stage and I get 30 seconds to 5 minutes to myself to just revel in that feeling,” Feinstein says. “Those moments make me realize I can do this for the rest of my life, be good at it, and rock it.”
Throughout her journey, she has learned many valuable lessons that keep her passion and love for the music growing. She has gained confidence and appreciates the interesting history of opera. While Feinstein’s love for singing started young, her determination continues to grow.
“There will always be someone more talented than you, but if you are the hardest worker, put in the most time, do the most research, know your stuff, and are good to work with, you will be successful,” Feinstein says.
Story by Meg Illig
Photos by Crystal French