The 'One For Sorrow' singer, who was axed from the ITV competition last week, claimed that she had lost all confidence in her vocal abilities before participating in the show.
"I thought my voice had gone, that I couldn't sing any more. It used to be so effortless, and then suddenly I couldn't do it," she explained to the Daily Mail. "Getting back on stage and getting my confidence back has been lovely.
"The first week I was sick with nerves but the sense of relief after I'd performed was wonderful. It's given me a sense of purpose. In the past I had self-doubt, but recently I've felt I'm doing what I'm meant to be doing."
She added: "Of course, I've just been pretending to be an opera singer, but now I actually feel more comfortable singing this way than pop."
Richards added that she considered Popstar To Operastar to be a rare escape from the "backstabbing" side of the music industry she was used to.
"For me it's a bit of a personal challenge. I don't want to say it's been healing doing the show, as that sounds corny, but every one's been very positive and helpful and it makes a nice change after the backstabbing pop world."
The Popstar To Operastar final, which sees Joe McElderry and Cheryl Baker fight to be crowned winner, will air tomorrow at 8pm on ITV1.
Watch Claire Richards' final Popstar To Operastar performance below.