It’s not over till the fat lady sings
A modern American proverb that is used to describe close-run contests and was first cited during the 1970s in a sporting context although the reference is a rather irreverent allusion to opera, perhaps with particular reference to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung finale when the Valkyrie Brünnehilde sings the final aria. Brünnehilde is usually cast as a somewhat buxom lady. The expression is first cited in the Dallas Morning News on 10 March 1976, when US commentator Ralph Carpenter used the expression to describe a particularly close basketball game. The exact citation is “the opera ain’t over till the fat lady sings”. Ralph Carpenter maintains he did not coin the expression. He was merely repeating something he had heard before and many people since have made claims that the expression was current in the Southern states of America some decades before its first appearance in print in 1976. It is sometimes wrongly attributed to the famous baseball player Yogi Berra who popularised a similar catchphrase ‘it ain’t over till it’s over’. Recent claims that the saying was inspired by the size of American singer Katie Smith or that she prompted the coining or usage are also unfounded.