Jessye Norman's guide to the singer's life

The award-winning, acclaimed singer has wowed audiences all over the world, especially in performances of the music of Wagner, Richard Strauss and Mozart. Here she gives Classic FM rare insights into her career and her art.

1. Practice deep breathing
Jessye Norman has performed in major opera houses and concert halls around the world. So what does she do to prepare before she goes on stage to calm her nerves? "I do a lot of deep breathing which would relax anyone - just try it," she says.

2. Lady of the Rings
Norman is one of the greatest Wagnerian sopranos of recent decades but is there a role she particularly loves? "Sieglinde," she says. "For me she is certainly the most feminine of the ladies who appear in the Ring Cycle and I love this role." 

3 Her finest hour
After such an illustrious career, what would Jessye Norman consider to be her finest achievement? She's reluctant to be drawn on the matter. "I'm still growing," she says. 

4 Why Richard Strauss?
Acclaimed for her magnificent performance of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs, Jessye Norman says the composer "wrote so beautifully particularly for the female voice."

5 A word of advice
As a committed promoter of music education, what advice does Jessye Norman have to aspiring musicians?
"We must work and prepare and be willing to enjoy the preparation process," she says.

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