Vienna is such a great place to be a musician. The city lives and breathes music, with many major concert and opera houses. One of my favorite things to do is to grab standing room tickets to the opera and go after class. I see whatever show happens to be playing that night. With the Bundestheater card, I can get standing tickets for only 4 euro. Everyone who has a residency in Vienna is eligible for this card, and the discounts apply to all sorts of performances around the city. I highly recommend it if you find yourself living in Vienna.
Getting to hear all of this music is super cool, but what about practicing? IES Abroad has two different practice facilities. Both of them are 20-30 minutes away from my apartment which means I have to plan for when to go to the practice rooms. It can be harder to find motivation to practice while you are studying away, even though I love singing. I try to get creative with how I practice. It is totally possible to do score study or listen to recordings of your pieces on the train during your travel weekends. That’s a great time for me to write in translations, learn pronunciations, and work on memorizing, all without actually singing. I am in the performance workshop class. We have very little time to put together difficult pieces, and our classes are spent working with our ensembles. It is really important that we come in prepared and knowing the music. This doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself away to practice and not have fun while studying abroad, you just need to be smart about how you spend your time and hold yourself accountable. I am currently preparing an opera role for this summer, and while I don’t want to spend all my time in the practice room, taking just a little bit of time to work on it every day will get me where I need to be. My teacher and coach have also been super helpful in preparing and finessing the music I am learning.
For my opera history course, we got to have a guest lecture with Mezzo-Soprano Kate Lindsey, who is currently in Vienna singing at the Staatsoper. Kate Lindsey is a personal hero of mine. She has been a role model for me as we sing a lot of similar repertoire, and I really look up to her both as a performer and because of the way she conducts herself within the opera industry. She is both intelligent and down to earth. I had no idea she is an IES Vienna Alumna until her lecture was announced. Getting to meet her in person and ask her questions was very exciting for me. She talked about the importance of preparation, lifestyle choices for opera singers, and told us about her experiences from when she was in her undergraduate years and looking to take the next step. It was very valuable to hear these stories, and I will keep her advice in mind as I go forward in my own education.
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My name is Isabella Daltoso, and I am a senior at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). I am a vocal performance major and a dance minor. I love all things music and opera, and I am so happy to be spending my spring semester in Vienna as part of the IES Vienna Music Program. I love to write and am a consultant at the PLU Writing Center. I have also been a newswriter for PLU’s Marketing and Communications department. When I am not singing, studying, or writing, I love to spend time with my friends and family, especially my younger siblings.