The singer’s job, I was once told in a master class, is to be a tree whose rustling leaves are evidence of the moving breath of God. Singers take what is written in the score and let it live through us, give it flesh and breath. If it is to be any good it must be real, as genuinely ours as the sensations of the voice in our chests and throats, or the audience will never feel those emotions, those experiences, as their own. For some people this is joyful second nature. For me, being so open a channel is exhilarating, yes, but terrifying, with a feeling of forced exposure and real, burnt-cheeked shame. I have never experienced stage fright. But for years I had nightmares of walking on stage nude, which was not so bad until a stagehand lifted the skin and fat and muscle of my torso away like a turtle’s shell, my guts glistening red and purple and hideous for all to see as I tried to sing.