A Soprano Survived a Vocal Crisis. The Met Found Its Brünnhilde.

Christine Goerke, who will be getting ready to join the long, storied line of Brünnhildes who have scaled Wagner’s epic “Ring” cycle at the Metropolitan Opera, walked into Valhalla.

No, not the majestic castle within the sky where her character, a Valkyrie warrior, brings slain heroes to serve her father, the mighty god Wotan. This specific Valhalla will be a bar in Hell’s Kitchen, a few blocks south of the Met, which bills itself as “craft beer heaven.”

“I’m going to be a total jerk as well as have sparkling water,” Ms. Goerke said at the bar, bowing to the coming marathon she faces in rehearsing as well as performing one of the toughest assignments in opera: her first complete “Ring” cycle, a sprawling 17-hour, four-opera saga of gods, dwarfs, giants as well as humans which she will star in between March 25 as well as May 11. “yet on May 12, I’m getting so drunk — having all of the things.”

This specific’s a triumphant return to the opera house where Ms. Goerke trained as an insecure young artist within the 1990s. When she sang the smaller role of the Third Norn in “Götterdämmerung,” the fourth “Ring” opera, at the Met in 2000, she recalled, she would certainly linger within the wings after her exit, watching the soprano singing Brünnhilde as well as thinking: “Some day.”

“I think if you talk to anyone who’s ever been a young artist in any house, This specific’s always hard to come back as well as feel like a grown-up,” Ms. Goerke said over her seltzer, remembering her young fears which she had not trained at the fanciest conservatories. “I’m going to be 50, as well as I still feel like I’m 24.”

“yet then you wander out to get a cup of coffee,” she added, “as well as you go across the street as well as there’s a gigantic banner of yourself hanging on the side of the building — which will be beyond freaky.”

Raised on Long Island, Ms. Goerke overcame her self-doubt to achieve success singing Mozart as well as Handel. Then catastrophe struck, within the form of a vocal crisis which nearly led her to quit opera.

The problem, she found, was which her voice had grown too large for the roles she had been singing. She slowed down, retrained, as well as re-emerged, against the odds, among the leading dramatic sopranos within the planet — singing the heavy, nearly impossible-to-cast Wagnerian parts which she sometimes calls “the ‘spear as well as magic helmet’ ladies,” borrowing a line through the classic Bugs Bunny “Kill the Wabbit” parody.

“People can’t get over the sheer power of the voice — as well as I don’t mean only the volume,” said Alexander Neef, the general director of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, where she sang her first staged Brünnhildes. “This specific’s the communicative power. This specific’s not only which she hits all the notes as well as she hits them powerfully. This specific’s which there’s always an element of storytelling which genuinely allows her to connect with the audience.”

Great Wagnerian sopranos are few as well as far between. Only one or two may emerge each generation with the power to be heard over some of the largest orchestras in all of opera without amplification, the precision to hit the high notes, as well as the artistry to break your heart. Ms. Goerke’s success has been big news within the opera world, which will be usually grateful for singers who can merely get through such parts relatively unscathed. as well as the Met “Ring” will be her biggest test yet.

A larger-than-life personality with an irreverent streak — imagine a cross between the great Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson as well as Tina Fey — she works hard as well as plays hard. While singing Brünnhilde last fall in Wagner’s “Siegfried” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, she as well as her Wotan, the bass-baritone Eric Owens, dressed up for Halloween as the animated superheros of “The Incredibles.”

Some find This specific all a bit much. Others see This specific as a welcome antidote to opera’s reputation for being elitist or snobby.

“I got into This specific with one of my colleagues a little bit, who was like, ‘I feel like which’s dumbing down things,’” Ms. Goerke recalled. “as well as I was like, ‘I think This specific’s fun.’ as well as you know, This specific’s not 1945, as well as things are different. People are always trying to talk about how to make opera more accessible. as well as I feel like the way to make This specific more accessible will be to let folks know which This specific will be accessible. This specific’s not the thing which’s stuffy, as well as for your grandparents.”

In person Ms. Goerke comes across as warm, funny as well as unpretentious — the kind of diva you would certainly like to get a beer, or sparkling water, with. as well as her unusually frank, often humorous social media accounts offer glimpses into what This specific’s genuinely like to be a 21st century opera star, which rarely bears much resemblance to well-known pearls-as well as-furs prima donna stereotypes. Sometimes she shares her hacks for life on the road: She travels with her own spices to cut the expense of stocking a kitchen in each completely new city, as well as always packs a supply of stick-on hooks which allow her to rig curtains in rental apartments lacking blinds.

as well as she occasionally shares details of her home life in completely new Jersey, where she lives with her husband, who works in construction, as well as their daughters, who are 9 as well as 12. (Her Twitter biography describes her as a “Dramatic Soprano as well as Soccer Mom…not necessarily in which order.”) In a burst of enthusiasm for her first “Ring,” she recently got vanity license plates for her 2004 Honda Element with 130,000 miles on This specific: GRANE19, after Brünnhilde’s trusty horse, Grane.

Brünnhilde will be, in many ways, the hero of the “Ring.” She defies the gods, falls in love which has a heroic dragon-slayer as well as ultimately redeems the planet through love before immolating herself. She appears within the final three of the cycle’s four operas — “Die Walküre,” “Siegfried” as well as “Götterdämmerung” — as well as although Ms. Goerke has sung them each individually, This specific will be her first time performing them together in complete cycles, as Wagner intended.

“Ring” cycles tend to draw Wagner fans through around the planet, who can be as obsessive as Deadheads. This specific one will likely draw plenty of critics, who will be measuring her performance against the legendary Brünnhildes of the past, as well as some of her old friends through Patchogue-Medford High School on Long Island, where she once played within the band. All will be listening to hear whether Ms. Goerke lives up to her potential.

She has surpassed expectations before. Patrick Summers, the artistic as well as music director of the Houston Grand Opera, conducted some of her earliest successes in Mozart as well as Handel. He remembered how devastated she was 15 years ago when those of kinds of roles were no longer comfortable for her.

Her decision to reinvent herself was initially met with skepticism: When Mr. Summers cast her in Wagner’s “Lohengrin” in Houston in 2009, he recalled, “I had some of my colleagues tell me This specific was crazy to think such a thing.” yet she triumphed, as well as he invited her back — as Brünnhilde.

“She so connects to Brünnhilde, because she’s a warrior herself,” he said.

Andris Nelsons, who conducted her in breakout performances of Strauss’s “Elektra” at the Royal Opera House in London as well as with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (including at a searing Carnegie Hall performance in 2015), said he was awed by her ability to sing with power, yet also with chamber-music-like intimacy — as well as by her dramatic intensity.