Kristine Overman heard her first opera, Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro", at a very young age, and she didn't like it very much.
Now, the 16-year-old North Farmington High has six years with the Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT) children's chorus under her belt and has plans to make opera her career.
The key, she said, was sticking with opera and finding a piece with which she could connect. Her mother, Martine Overman, said Kristine really opened up to it while watching a touring performance of Puccini's "Madame Butterfly".
"She said, 'Mom, her voice is so beautiful. I want to stay for the whole thing.'," Martine recalled.
Kristine's face lights up at the thought of her first MOT performance, in French composer Georges Bizet's "Carmen".
"I remember I was on stage ... the lights, the applause. I knew that's what I wanted to do," she said, adding the passionate nature of opera appeals to her as well. "Ask anyone, I've always been a drama queen."
At 13, she portrayed a lead character in Mozart's "The Magic Flute", carrying a part that was larger than some of the adult parts. Working with MOT, she said, meant long hours, sometimes late into the night. But it's work that she loves.
"It was the best experience of my life," she said.
Opera isn't everything, though. Kristine's love of performing also extends to Broadway, so much so that she's about to release an album featuring her favorite tunes. It's something she'll share with family and friends, a way to share a love of music that has been with her since she started singing at age 2.
At North, Kristine is involved with the Madrigal Chorus and last year played the role of "Lady Larkin" in "Once Upon a Mattress". She says combining the long hours at MOT with her school work and other activities can be challenging.
"I drink coffee," she joked, adding, "You make it work. If it's what you want to do, you're always going to make it work."
"In order to be at the caliber I expect myself to be, sometimes you have to give up your life, which is what I do," she added. "But I wouldn't give it up for anything."