The holy space of singing on stage is just one of the very cool things Melanie and Susanne Mentzer talk about in this episode.
Susanne is a mezzo-soprano who’s performed all over the world, singing in operatic productions, as well as concerts, chamber music performances, and recitals. She’s been a guest artist at the Metropolitan Opera since 1989, and made many recordings. She’s a Full-time Professor of Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Official Voice Teacher at the San Francisco Opera.
Finally, Susanne is singing this summer at the Santa Fe Opera.
This episode is full of light-hearted energy, lots of laughter, some personal revelations of overcoming hardships … lots of life.
Susanne talks about the ways in which being on stage for her is therapeutic, perhaps even sacred at times. Her phrase “holy space” refers to the experience of transpersonal connection, that feeling of being connected to something larger than oneself, which is a component of the science of happiness.
Being passionate about her work in the world, which has now spanned several decades, continues to bring much meaning for Susanne.
Not incidentally, feeling a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives is another component of the science of happiness, and contributes to our overall health, wellbeing, and happiness.
As an article in Scientific American says, “A wealth of research in positive psychology suggests that happiness and meaning are, in fact, essential elements of well-being. Happiness and meaning are strongly correlated with each other, and often feed off each other. The more meaning we find in life, the more happy we typically feel, and the more happy we feel, the more we often feel encouraged to pursue even greater meaning and purpose.”
Another major key to wellbeing is having healthy social connections, which Susanne talks about. That same Scientific American article says ” … feeling connected to others, feeling productive, and not being alone or bored contributed to both happiness and meaning. However, they also found some important differences … .” [https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-differences-between-happiness-and-meaning-in-life/]*
Susanne’s life has taken some unexpected turns, she’s lived some tragedy and experienced great triumphs, and is incredibly transparent in sharing insights, and hope, and inspiration.
*Happiness and meaning and purpose can quickly become a very nuanced conversation, at least according to some research findings. This statement may help shed a bit more light on it: “It seems that happiness has more to do with having your needs satisfied, getting what you want, and feeling good, whereas meaning is more related to uniquely human activities such as developing a personal identity, expressing the self, and consciously integrating one’s past, present, and future experiences.” [https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-differences-between-happiness-and-meaning-in-life/]