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Alumna Opera Singer Reflects on Formative SCASD ExperiencesFor Julia Wolcott, her activities at SCASD were an opportunity to open up. “I was definitely a late bloomer,” she says. “I was very shy growing up and going into high school. But in seventh grade I had an English class with Mr. Cunningham, and it just ignited a strong interest in me for dissecting stories.” In high school, she threw herself into classes and extracurriculars like Glee Club, Thespians, German, theater and even shot put. “I think those kind of prepared me for what a balancing act being an opera singer is,” she says.

Since leaving State High, she has made a name for herself in the opera world in such roles as Vitellia in La Clemenza di Toto and Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. She’s earned numerous awards and honors and just started her first year at the Boston University Opera Institute this fall. “It’s a highly competitive, highly selective program, where all the students go for free and you do lead roles in really nice productions, so it’s very exciting.”

Her love of opera was partially ignited by taking German in middle school and high school. “Karen Aubuchon was my middle school German teacher. She was the first person who got me into German, and then Herr Smith kept it going.”

In high school, Julia did a three-week study abroad program in Hanover, Germany, an experience that encouraged her to return to German-speaking countries later in life. “That interest in German is what inspired me in college to study abroad in Vienna and Austria,” she says. “And because of that, I moved there after college for a year. I actually think that was a big reason I got into Julliard, because of my language experience.”

After high school, Julia studied at Pennsylvania State University for her Bachelor’s, going on to Juilliard for her Master of Music in Voice after a year abroad. “I was petrified of going to Europe. I’d never left Pennsylvania. And I was petrified of moving to New York City, and that’s one of my favorite places now. So always do the things you’re afraid of,” she advises, “because they’re always the ones that pay off the best.”

Another piece of advice she gives to students in any field of study is to take advantage of opportunities for growth and learning in the community. “We have this amazing opera program where you can go see operas, which I never took advantage of in high school. But I did volunteer at the State Theater, where they do these Met live broadcasts, and I actually got to see my very first opera at the State Theater when I was ushering in high school.”

After her two-year program at Boston University Opera Institute, Julia hopes to go on to a young artist’s program at an opera house. “With a voice like mine, which is bigger and more on the dramatic side, it has to age like wine. It takes time, so it’s kind of a slow path. But it’s pretty cool that I went form being the quietest, shyest kid in school and now I’ve been in The New York Times and Vogue and Opera News…It’s been an exciting journey.”