Monday, February 26, 2024

Mildura songbird unlocks key to city

Mildura Rural City Council has bestowed one of its highest honours upon a locally-born and trained performing artist who is now one of the most sought after classical singers on the international stage.

Councillor Stefano de Pieri announced Siobhan Stagg as Mildura’s latest Key to the City recipient in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon after her latest appearance with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The Key to the City is one of two prestigious honours Council can bestow upon an individual or organisation in recognition of outstanding achievement in any field.

Described internationally as “one of the most exceptional young artists to have emerged from Australia in recent years”, Siobhan was born in Mildura in 1987 and completed her secondary schooling in Mildura before embarking on her glittering career.

It’s a career that has seen the talented classical singer perform at a host of prestigious venues and concerts including her Royal Opera House debut in the Magic Flute, which was broadcast to over 2,000 cinemas worldwide.

She also earned accolades for her United States debut in the title role of Massenet’s Cendrillon (Cinderella) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, with critics praising her “absolutely stunning and powerful voice, coupled with her undeniably magnetic stage presence.”

Mildura Mayor, Liam Wood and Deputy Mayor, Helen Healy said Siobhan’s achievements were a glowing reflection on her amazing talent and something Sunraysia residents should be proud of.

“On an individual level, Siobhan has shown for more than a decade that she’s one of the most talented opera sopranos in the world, attracting glowing reviews and multiple awards,” Mayor Wood said.

“From a community level, Siobhan’s achievements would make any capital city proud, but we’re so fortunate that we can claim her as our own,” he said.

“Seeing Siobhan grow up and start performing in Mildura, witnessing her swift rise to the pinnacle of global opera, gracing audiences the world over with her amazing talent has not only been a privilege, but makes me extremely proud to be a Sunraysia resident,” Cr Healy said.

“Siobhan’s achievements are a credit to her natural talent and dedication to her career. She serves as a powerful inspiration for others in our region, showing just what we as Sunraysia residents are capable of.”

Siobhan says some of her first public performances were busking as a kid in Mildura’s Langtree Mall.

“As a young teen, I made up songs as I walked the bush paths by the river with my parents, my brothers and our dog,” she said.

“While life’s current has since led me far from the banks of the Murray, Mildura has definitely shaped me into the person I am today, just as it shaped the lives of my grandparents and my parents before me. 

“Growing up in an isolated rural oasis was not always without its challenges, yet at the same time, it was an enormous blessing.

“It taught me resilience and the courage to aspire to great heights. My grandfather worked on a block in Benetook Avenue for 52 years while my grandmother raised four children. They worked hard, with little reward, so that their children and their children’s children could enjoy a better life.

“It’s thus a great honour and privilege to accept this recognition on their behalf, and on behalf of all rural people who strive towards something bigger than themselves.”

Siobhan completed a Batchelor Music (Hons) at the University of Melbourne in 2009 before taking her career overseas, completing a Master of Music performance in 2012 along with a Master of Advanced Vocal Technique from Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff the following year.

She has also studied privately in New York, Austria and Italy.

Demonstrating her amazing natural talent, Siobhan’s studies were supported by a host of scholarships, including:

  • Australian International Opera Award (2012)
  • Amelia Joscelyne Memorial Scholarship from the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust (2009-2012)
  • Italian Opera Foundation Award (2012)
  • Tait Memorial Foundation Prize (2012)
  • Opera Foundation Australia’s AIMS Award and AIMS Sundell Study Prize (2011)
  • Acclaim/Rotary Sleath Lowrey Vocal Scholarship
  • B’nai Brith Harold Fisher Prize (2011)
  • Other scholarships including from the Faculty of Music and Trinity College at the University of Melbourne (2007-2012)

She also performed opera across the globe, including in Berlin (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Salzburg (Austria), Aix (France) and Dijon (France).

Siobhan’s stellar performances have drawn a host of prestigious awards including:

  • First Prize and the Audience Choice Award at the Meistersinger Vocal Competition in Graz, Austria (2011)
  • MWMC Singer of the Year competition in Melbourne (2011)
  • First prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Mietta Song Competition in Melbourne (2012)
  • The Italian Opera Foundation Award in Sydney (2012)
  • The Australian International Opera Award (2012)
  • First Prize in the Stuart Burrows International Voice Award in Wales (2013)
  • Belvedere Singing Competition, where she won the Prize of the International Media-Jury (2014)
  • International Mozart Competition in Salzburg, where she was also awarded the Special Prize for Best Interpretation of a Strauss Song (2014).
  • Green Room Award for Best Female Lead in an Opera (2019)
  • Oakleaf Award from Trinity College for services to the performing arts (2022)

Siobhan’s full biography can be viewed at siobhanstagg.com/about.

Latest Articles