Life @ Longy: Elizabeth Stuk, Opera

ElizabethStukheadshot.jpegName: Elizabeth Stuk
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Area of study: Soprano, Opera
Degree program: Master of Music
Class of 2016 

Briefly describe your ideal career:
Ideally I would like to make a living off of performing opera, whether it be in the US or internationally. I would love to sing in places like Germany or Austria, and certainly have sometime in Europe. A goal of mine would be to sing all over the US, not only in regional opera companies, but also in some of the major houses. 

What do you think makes Longy special?
The thing that really drew me to Longy was the close faculty attention that students receive. I talk to our opera faculty all the time—we are even Facebook friends. I love knowing that if I ever need anything, whether it’s related to my degree or to my studies, or even if it’s personal, I can go to them. They really care about each of us.

The performance opportunities in the opera department—the fact that we do three different scenes concerts, which everyone is cast in, as well one of them being musical theater, (not super typical), and then for the final production of the year to be a fully staged opera with orchestra, I couldn’t really find that at a lot of other schools. 

How would you describe a typical school day?
It’s depends! Mondays and Wednesdays are my long days! But typically it begins by warming up before Opera Studio and Aria and Monologue classes. Tuesdays and Thursdays are typically set aside for courses like grad theory, history review, opera history. I try to keep my days not super hectic. Fridays, I don’t have classes. 

What is your favorite aspect of the Longy curriculum?
I love the opera studio and Aria and Monologue format. The combined courses are basically built in coaching times for working on scenes and new repertoire material. Aria and Monologue is basically audition practice. The only way to learn is by getting up and doing it, I’m happy our faculty pushes us to perform as much as possible. 

Biggest unexpected challenge in your coursework?
The opera department is very demanding; it is not for the faint of heart. You learn a lot of music, and you learn it fast... but it prepares you for the real world. We are taught to hit the ground running. 

What advice would you give to prospective students?
Come and see the school and meet the faculty, and talk to current students. Try to visit and hangout with students for a day. It’s a great way to figure out what the community feels like—that’s invaluable. The school might look great on paper, but if it’s not a fit personally, you won’t know unless you go there. 

What’s your favorite non-musical activity?
I would say cooking. I love to cook. I don’t do it nearly enough since I’m mainly always here. I like to make soup in the winter, and I love to feed everyone!  

Anything else you’d like to share?
Longy is a family. Not even within just the opera department, but across all departments in the school. Because it is small, you know students and faculty in other departments, and it’s really evident in the interactions we have with each other. Everyone wants everyone else to succeed, whether it be the students, faculty, administration. It’s one big family, and that’s the best way to learn.