Soula Parassidis, praised for her electrifying stage presence and glamorous stage presence, the operatic soprano has appeared as a principal soloist at the world’s leading opera houses, including Teatro Massimo Palermo, Opera Bordeaux, Teatro Regio Torino, Guanzhao Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Oper Leipzig, Orchestre Toulouse, Taipei Philharmonic, The Gewandhaus, Rudolfinum Prague, and the Berlin Philharmonie. She has also served as a host and moderator for Medici TV, the “Netflix” of classical music. In addition to her performance career, Soula also serves as the CEO and founder of Living Opera, an art and technology start-up that specializes in fine art NFTs, music production, and educational resources for emerging opera singers.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I grew up in Vancouver Canada to an Irish mother and a Greek father. From an early age, I knew I wanted to make music. In fact, could sing before I could talk! I didn’t know my path would eventually lead to opera — I always wanted to be on Broadway but alas I’m not a great dancer and was told that was a requirement! I spent my whole childhood learning music theory, history, and playing various instruments before formally training my voice. I was a very focused child and could study for unusual lengths of time, something that has served me well not only in my career but in my journey as an entrepreneur.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
When the pandemic hit the opera sector was completely shut down and we’re still recovering now. I saw how demoralized my community and colleagues were and knew I had to do something about it. had already been creating content for my younger colleagues via social media and decided to leverage that content and create my business Living Opera. We started small, just focusing on social media (Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube), and a blog specifically tailored to emerging opera singers. Then we launched an online school offering voice lessons and career coaching, then an online course teaching entrepreneurship for singers. People often think of opera as a niche art form, but it’s actually a worldwide community with millions of practitioners and fans! After 2 years in the Edtech domain, we’re now turning our focus to NFT and music production, which is so creative and artistically satisfying. It has been an amazing experience and such a joy to see artists from all over the world engage with our content and experience transformation, and we are confident that this will eventually trickle into other spheres of influence, sectors, and domains to create lasting bridges between seemingly disparate communities.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Your team will make or break you. Every successful person needs great people around them! As a leader, it’s up to me to recognize my weak areas so I can delegate those responsibilities to someone more capable. It requires humility and trust, and those things can only be achieved when you believe in your team. We’ve had our ups and downs at Living Opera, but I think we are emerging into our organizational identity after lots of trial and error and I couldn’t be more grateful for how my team has continually walked with me in patience and love as I explore what this brand is growing into.