Q&A with Siobhan Stagg

We get to know the superstar Australian soprano a little better, as she tells us about her childhood dream of being a vet, and the meditative qualities of table tennis...

What’s your go-to comfort food?
If I’m feeling a bit run-down, I love a home-cooked roast with lots of vegetables, rosemary and garlic. I also have a soft spot for ice cream.

What does your perfect holiday look like?
What's a holiday? 😉 I'm travelling almost constantly for work these days, so if I do find myself with a few days free, I generally opt for a 'staycation' and enjoy some quiet time at home. 

I haven’t yet, but I’d like to visit…
My parents' new home in Adelaide. They recently relocated from our long-standing family home in Mildura in north west country Victoria. It’s the end of an era for them... or an exciting new beginning.

Where’s home for you?
I'm currently based in Berlin and love the European lifestyle, though there'll always be a place in my heart for Australia. Sometimes it feels like ‘home’ is wherever I can find a decent wifi connection... 

I wish I spent more time… 

What does happiness look like to you?
It doesn't 'look' like anything, but feels like being present in the moment, calm acceptance, and sharing laughter with dear ones. 

What’s your favourite app? 
My phone's piano app - it's no substitute for the real thing of course but renders an otherwise empty practise room a bit more useful. Also my German dictionary app. 

What gives you hope?
Conversations with engaging and inspired humans. 

What are you reading? 
This week, Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult and David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. 

What’s your signature dish? 
Sadly I don’t get the chance to cook often enough to have a ‘signature dish’. A slow Sunday morning breakfast is a treasured indulgence when time allows. I like to whip up some poached eggs, avocado and feta to enjoy with my Sunday morning coffee.  

Any pets? 
Not anymore, though as a child our family always had lots of pets; a border collie called Delta, a cat called Tabitha, numerous guinea pigs and goldfish. One of my early ambitions was to become a vet.

Who (or what) is the love of your life?
My partner Nelson is an amazing support; he helps me to find balance amidst the chaos. 

What is your guilty pleasure? 
“I try not to associate guilt with pleasure.” I read this answer is a similar quiz recently and it struck a chord. I’ve recently taken to enjoying a spot of table tennis for its subtle meditative qualities. 

 What was your first job? 
Old-fashioned paper round. With my two brothers and my dad, it became a family tradition to wake early on a Sunday morning, hand roll hundreds of copies of the local paper and deliver it on a bicycle around our neighbourhood. Once the job was done, we treated ourselves to homemade pancakes.

What do you spend too much money on?
Probably everything. I'm no expert, but I recently read about the concept of ‘lifestyle creep’, which is the idea that we subconsciously adapt our lifestyles (and thus, living expenses) as our incomes grow over the course of a lifetime. Without realising, most people adjust their spending habits to live just within their means, which makes the idea of accumulating any real savings increasingly difficult.

What’s a piece of music you’re desperate to perform that you haven’t yet?
Puccini's La Boheme. Fortunately, that dream will come true this December when I sing Musetta at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Why is music important?
It transcends the banalities of everyday life and brings people together.

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