IES Abroad Vienna Music Program Alumna on Her Way to Becoming an International Opera Star

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Back in Fall 2006, Emily Birsan (then Fink) was a promising student studying abroad on our Vienna Music Program. Today, she is a professional opera singer about to take on the world, landing her debut role as Leila in the Florida Grand Opera’s production of The Pearl Fishers, which opens in March. Currently based in Chicago, she recently completed a three-year stint at the Lyric Opera’s prestigious Ryan Opera Center for young performers.

During her time in Vienna, she was able to immerse herself into the world of opera in a city that lives and breathes music. In a recent Classical Singer magazine story about Emily’s promising career, she says of her study abroad experience, “It was the first time I was in a position where I could see 25 operas in a short amount of time. [Vienna] was so ingrained in the culture. You could stop someone on the street and ask them the plot of an opera, and they would know it.”

Read more about Emily’s life as a professional singer here.

Curious what other IES Abroad alums are up to? Visit our “Alum of the Month” section of the website to see what others have been doing post-study abroad.

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