Perth singer in US opera master class

Elena Perroni is a trailblazer.

The soprano from Sorrento is the first Australian accepted into the opera program at the most selective music school in America.

Perroni, 25, attends the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where more than 800 applicants were trimmed to just four in the classical voice course.

The institute restricts its intense performance-based training to 170 people, the size of a combined orchestra, opera company.

Famous graduates include composers Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Gian Carlo Menotti, tenor Juan Diego Florez and soprano Anna Moffo.

Perroni, at home for the northern summer break, said she did not see herself as a pioneer.

"I feel really honoured to be there and it is a bonus that I happen to be the first Australian in the opera program," the 2011 WAAPA graduate said.

"I had no clue that I was the first Australian until the head of department told me."

Perroni gained a Master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music last year and aims for a second Master's at Curtis through constant performing.

"We don't spend any time in the classroom," she said. "All we do is sing. That is what I wanted."

Perroni wanted to be a singer from age 12 and advises others to work hard at the small steps while heading to the big dream.

The West Australian

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