Jessye Norman: I decided that I had to save myself by leaving the opera house.  It isn’t as though I had, you know, sort of sheaves and sheaves of work.  I made this decision because I was trying to save myself.  I have always sung more solo recitals with piano than opera, but it isn’t as though I had recitals lined up all over the world.  I had two or three things that I knew that were coming up, but I didn’t have a lot after that. So at that point in my very young life, I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to be able to continue, because it wasn’t certain that I would have enough work as a solo performer to support myself. So there were probably about two months before I actually told my parents what I’d done. When I called them, and my mother was on one extension and my father was on the other one, which was in the kitchen, there was stunned silence, and my father said, “Well sister, how is it going since you’ve left the opera house in Berlin?”  I said, “Well actually, I have two recitals in this place, and another recital in that place, and I think I’m going to be all right.” And at some point, Mother said, “Do you need to come home?”