Phantom, or the Opera

As of now, it's still a coin toss whether you'll eventually see Elise Noyes singing in either a Broadway musical or at the Metropolitan Opera.

Erik Einsiedel - 4 June 2018

Now armed with her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, the talented singer is still deciding which of those two routes to focus on. It's taken her several long, hard years to achieve her degree. This last year was especially challenging as she balanced her toughest class and performance schedule with her roles as President of the U of A Madrigal Singers and President of the Music Students Association (MSA).

"It was a great learning experience in how to organize my time and how to prioritize. It was hard, and it didn't make my degree any easier, but I don't regret it," she laughs.

With the ink on her diploma barely dry, Elise already has auditions lined up with some big competitions, including the Metropolitan National Council in New York and the Canadian Opera Council.

When asked about her favourite memories from the U of A, Elise smiles as she remembers things like going out for food with people after a rehearsal or a particularly long day, or studying music theory together when everyone was "freaking out constantly."

"We'd all be in the same hallway panicking, but we were in it together," she recalls. "The understanding that you're not alone when you're struggling is very meaningful."

Elise credits Music faculty members Shannon Hiebert (her vocal coach), Elizabeth Turnbull and John Tessier who were particularly influential in her development.

"That was one of the highlights of my time at the U of A: working with those three professionals who I could tell wanted to nurture me not just as a performer but as a person. This isn't a special circumstance with just me -- there are so many people they've touched."

Having spent much of her time performing with the Madrigal Singers, as well as serving as their President, Elise says she'll especially miss Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff, Director of the Madrigals. "The best thing I got out of Mads was working with Len," she says. "The list of Len's accolades is unbelievable, and yet he's just such a humble, lovely person."

As she leaves the U of A, Elise mentions a few tips for new students:

1. Buy an organizer.

"The second you get your syllabus, write everything down, like when things are due. It's on you to remember!"

2. Do something that has nothing to do with school.

"Be in a space that's not related to school. It's a way to clear your head, and it'll better you as a person."

3. Introduce yourself to the person beside you.

"When classes are large, it's hard to make friends. Just saying hello at the beginning can really help you, so you're not feeling alone."

4. You have to work really hard.

"You spend so much money on school, you do want to feel at the end like it's paid for something. So work really hard and challenge yourself, without burning out."

Congratulations on graduating, Elise! We look forward to seeing your name in lights on Broadway or at a famous opera house someday!