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Justin Fields - Opera Columbus

Justin Fields’ voice is becoming familiar to opera lovers all around Columbus, and he credits going to college for helping him launch his opera career.

But attending college wasn’t always a “given” for Justin. With limited income and substance abuse in his home growing up, he had to find his own path. “After I left home I spent several years just getting my life in order. Then, one day I just woke up one day and decided, 'I'm going to Columbus State!’”

When Justin started his studies at Columbus State, he considered majoring in Human Resources and Computer Science, but then discovered the Music Department. He credits Columbus State professors Rose Zuber, Elizabeth Scinto, and music program chair Patrice Ross for encouraging him to go into music.

“My professors helped me find my niche in this world,” Fields said. “Had it not been for those Columbus State professors, I imagine that my life would be extremely different than it is now.”

In addition to his work with the Music Department, he became active with Cougar Pride (Columbus State’s gay advocacy group), designing websites, running online communities, and tutoring students in music. While attending Columbus State, Justin was honored by the MAN Initiative, a program to promote achievement in male students, as one of its Men of the Year.

After earning his associate degree, Justin went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance at Ohio State. He is currently working on master’s degrees in Vocal Performance and Vocal Pedagogy .

“A professor of mine said you don’t choose the opera – opera chooses you. Either you have a voice that works for opera, or you don’t,” Fields said. He got his audition for Opera Columbus through a program that partnered Ohio State with the opera company.

Justin first performed with Opera Columbus in “Opera on the Edge,” an outreach program that took a stripped-down, English-language version of “La Boheme” to several locations around the city, including ShadowBox Live and the Refectory. The experience put him in front of people who wouldn’t ordinarily go to the opera – and weren’t sure they were going to like it.

“It’s always extremely gratifying and rewarding to see their expressions change halfway through the performance,” Justin says. “Discovering opera definitely changed my life, so helping others discover it feels like I’ve come full circle.”

Justin can currently be heard in outreach performances for Opera Columbus, including the recent performances of “The Magic Flute.”