Life lessons: wisdom from the opera singer Ekaterina Siurina

The Russian soprano Ekaterina Siurina says that to live life to the fullest we should embrace our fears, make sacrifices and work hard.

A handout photo showing Ekaterina Siurina performing as Amina at "La Sonnambula" opera, Michigan Opera Theatre (Photo by John Grigaitis)

The soprano Ekaterina Siurina was born in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and studied at Moscow's Russian Academy of Theatre Arts. She has performed across the globe, including at the Royal Opera House in London and the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin. She will appear in the Opera Gala on Monday, April 4, at Emirates Palace in the finale of this year's Abu Dhabi Festival.

1. Life is precious. Even when you are focused on your career, your work and your daily worries, you must keep a place in your heart where family and love are still held in the highest regard. This will ensure you stay a strong and kind person and will help keep you from distractions.

2. Embrace your fears and insecurities. If you are not nervous it means you don't care enough. But we can turn those nerves into positive strength and energy. Even the greats can sometimes have failures. We must learn from them and use this knowledge to improve ourselves and our art.

3. Be strong in your opinions but with some flexibility. As advanced as we may become in our own area of expertise, there are always other ways to see and do things. If we cannot hear or accept other approaches to our art, then we cannot grow as an artist or a person.

4. Learn to make sacrifices. When you have a passion for something there will always be a need to make sacrifices. It's our job to find the right balance between a happy life and dedication to our careers. When you are happier in yourself, you perform better.

5. Natural talent is no substitute for hard work. Some of the most talented people are also very hard workers. It's what must go hand in hand with talent. We can never take for granted the gifts we are given. We must take care of them and nurture them.

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