“IT’S A DIFFICULT TIME FOR A YOUNG SINGER BECAUSE EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT THE DREAM IS BUT OFTEN IT’S NOT CLEAR HOW TO PAVE THE WAY TOWARDS THAT DREAM, WHAT THE NEXT STEP SHOULD BE” – SIOBHAN STAGG
A century ago, the world’s first operatic superstar Dame Nellie Melba believed that to be successful in the challenging world of opera, ‘a beautiful voice is not enough.’
Dame Nellie most definitely had the voice and the determination to succeed, but she was also an astute business woman, she had acting training, make-up and deportment advice and she was groomed in social etiquette, which she used to great effect mixing with European aristocracy and royalty.
She knew how to behave like a high-born lady. There were many different sides to Melba and she was good at putting the right side forward in the right circumstances. Ann Blainey.
Her legacy lives on today in the form of The Melba Opera Trust, an organisation that aside from its moniker, boasts a direct lineage to the Diva herself. Based on an original bequest from Dame Nellie, the Trust offers unique national scholarship programs to talented postgraduate singers, giving them access to a broad range of industry experts, vocal coaching and performance opportunities so that hopefully, ‘another Melba will rise’.
The Trust sees you as an individual artist and tailors the program to work the best for you and to make you the strongest you can be as an individual performer. Current scholar, Bronwyn Douglass.
Today on Music Makers we take you behind the scenes at the Trust with the help of Dame Nellie’s biographer Ann Blainey, mentors Simon O’Neill, Chuck Hudson, and Yvonne Kenny and managing director Peter Garnick.
Two current Trust scholars, Daniel Carison and Bronwyn Douglass and soprano Siobhan Stagg, one of the Trust’s earliest alumni who has a blossoming career in Europe add their voices to this story of how to bridge the challenging gap between university studies and the tantalising professional world of Opera.
Words from ABC Classic FM – Music Makers by Mairi Nicolson