Soprano Catherine Goode was YTA’s 2018 Audience Choice Award winner and Silver Medalist in the Voice division.
Goode recently shared an update on her career with us.
It’s been five years since you won our Audience Choice Award and Silver Medal in Voice. How would you say your experience with YTA has impacted you and your music career?
Winning the Audience Choice Award was a great reminder for me that making audiences happy and bringing them enjoyment is one of the most important aspects of performing. It’s easy to get bogged down thinking about vocal technique or other elements related to the performance (i.e. Does my costume look right? Is my wig on securely? Did I warm up enough? Did I drink enough water today?), but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that I deliver a performance that the audience enjoys!
What have you been up to since then?
I’ve been very fortunate to participate in several young artist programs around the country and perform with a couple of regional companies in principal roles. I’ve performed with Des Moines Metro Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera in the Heights (here in Houston!), Merola Opera Program, Kentucky Opera, Central City Opera, and Salt Marsh Opera.
I’ve also done a few more competitions and maintain a private studio (teaching mostly over Zoom as I travel frequently for performances with different companies).
What have been some of the more memorable moments of your music career so far? Why were they meaningful to you?
There are two specific performances that really stand out in my mind.
In addition to my operatic career, I sing with mirabai, a professional women’s ensemble. All of the singers are alumnae of Michigan State University, where I did my graduate studies. In the summer of 2018, we were invited to perform for the Texas Choral Directors Association’s annual convention. A lot of the music we sang included themes of female and self-empowerment. Singing such powerful music in an ensemble full of friends and colleagues I love and respect was a very impactful experience.
One of the things I love about modern opera is that so many are based on actual people and their very real experiences. Recently, I had the privilege to perform Krysia in Two Remain, a two-act opera about two individuals (each has their own act) who survived the Holocaust. My act had a cast of five women, myself included. My four castmates brought the story to life so beautifully, and it was a profoundly moving experience to share the stage with them and tell Krystyna Zywulska’s story through this opera.
What are your goals from here?
To be completely honest, I’m still figuring this out! I love performing and definitely want to continue singing professionally. I am also very passionate about teaching and have considered returning to school to get a doctoral degree and then a college teaching job.
I’m also really interested in the future of young artist programs in this country (I volunteer with an organization — the Soloist Collective for Emerging Artists — that does a lot of advocacy work for this community) and have thought about pivoting into arts administration.
For now, though, singing is my primary pursuit, and I’m devoting all my efforts and energy to growing my operatic career.
Please tell us what you enjoy doing for fun or to relax. Do you have any hobbies?
I love to read, and I make time to do so every day. I also recently learned to embroider, which has been a fun way to relax at the end of the day. I really love to travel, though I haven’t done much of that in the past couple of years. I’m hoping to be able to do more traveling in the coming months!
Please tell us about your musical tastes. Have they changed over the years? How?
They have, though not in a while! When I was a kid, I really wanted to be a country singer (I even auditioned for the “Best Country Singer in Houston” competition in middle school). At the beginning of high school, I was really interested in musical theatre, and my goal was to perform on Broadway.
However, my voice isn’t suited to that style of singing, and I had wonderful voice teachers redirect me toward classical singing. Once I learned that my voice was really suited to classical repertoire (and opera, once I got into college), things clicked into place and just made sense.
While I still love to listen to musical theatre, and certainly would still love to be on Broadway if the right opportunity presented itself, opera/classical music is where my voice excels and where I feel most at home as an artist!
As far as opera is concerned, I really loved singing and listening to Handel and Mozart in the early stages of my career. I still like late Baroque/early Classical operas, but what I’ve really come to love is contemporary opera. Not only are the stories really compelling, but the music also is challenging in a way that provides a lot of satisfaction once it’s learned and I’m performing it!
What advice would you offer young artists who are just starting their music careers?
Have your own personal “Board of Directors.” This should be four-five mentors who know you and your art well, but ideally in different capacities, and one non-family-member personal acquaintance who has your best interests at heart. For example, my board includes my voice teacher of 12+ years, my vocal coach from grad school, a mentor from my first summer program, a stage director I’ve worked with at multiple opera companies, and my best friend (who works in the arts and sings herself but isn’t an opera singer).
I frequently go to these people for advice about everything from repertoire suggestions to potential career plans, to vent when things aren’t going the way I had hoped, and other similar career topics.
Make sure they are people who genuinely believe in you and your talent but will also give you honest feedback to support your continued growth as an artist and human!