I am well aware that our profession is one that can that can be soul and ego defeating at times. I have lived through those moments where I have asked myself "why do I keep trying to do this?"
All of us at various times experience the following:
1. Explaining to relatives, family, and friends what it is you do (i.e. no, Josh Groban is not an opera singer Aunt Mildred, what I do is different).
2. You scratch your head and say, how did I live on that much money last year?
3. An adjudicator or artistic director makes you feel two inches tall after hearing you sing, thus rendering, with a single phrase, the last 10 years of your life, futile.
I could go and on, but I'm sure you get the idea.
I completely support when someone says to me that they are getting out, because they can't live through that anymore. There is no shame in having fought the good fight and moving on.
If you decide to stick with it, and continue to try to make a living with your voice, that is also OK.
No, as singers we don't cure disease, end war, or feed the hungry......
Opera Singers do add a glittering bit of light to the world as we know it. That is a noble endeavor - we visit museums today to view the creativity of human kind over the centuries - there is no more cherished footprint of any civilization than its creativity. Luckily, since the invention of the phonograph, the human voice can now be captured in the same way a Renoir is captured.
So, when you are in that practice room trying to spin out a phrase of Mozart, Monteverdi, Rorem or Puccini, know that perhaps you will end up inspiring one person or millions....and that's a good thing.