“I’ve never been afraid to fail.” – Michael Jordan

I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.
-Michael Jordan

Tonight I was invited to a Toronto Raptors basketball game and sat in seats that cost nearly a thousand dollars.  This concerned me.  Right when I arrived I thought “are you f#$&^%* kidding me? And people complain about the prices to see an opera?!” But while sitting and watching these athletes, I was reminded how important it is to see EVERYTHING we can in its live form.

Opera singers are athletes.  Actually, all musicians are athletes.  The things we accomplish by combining the mind and the body are extraordinary and we can learn so much from each other.

 Tonight I saw professionals mess up, get over it and win.  This part of singing is hard for me.  Every note has meaning and when one goes awry, I feel like a failure.

Have you read W. Timothy Gallwey”s The Inner Game of Tennis or any of Michael Jordan’s books?  You could replace “tennis” with whatever your instrument is and it is SO accurate it hurts.  Read it and try it.  I also suggest reading any or all of Michael Jordan’s books and using his methods for practicing as though you’re performing.

Moving forward, this is how I am choosing to play this crazy game that we call opera.


“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

“To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve.  And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish.  Stay reachable.  Stay in touch.  Don’t isolate.” – Michael Jordan


  1. December 19, 2013, 5:05 am

    GREAT FREAKING BLOG QUEENIE! So well put, and I love the parallel with basketball and mister Jordan! How about we fail a little more together right now, so we can rule the world later? I have faith in you, and I know you will get far!



  2. Micki Smart
    December 19, 2013, 5:10 am

    Very interesting perspective Ambur. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Katalin Schafer
    December 19, 2013, 1:30 pm

    I think Ambur opera singing and professional sports have in common the tremendous dedication and years of practice and discipline. I admire you for your talent and dedication to this beautiful art form. I wish you success.


  4. Eric
    March 22, 2014, 5:06 am

    Thanks for these posts Ambur! I just discovered you via Twitter after adding another Canadian opera sensation. You certainly scored bonus points with me by quoting Michael Jordan. It brought back some “growing up in the 90s” memories!

    I’m just discovering opera – mostly through the Royal Opera House screenings at my local cinema. I’m looking forward to the next screening (La Traviata), but will almost certainly skip Parsifal as it’s over five hours long!

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