The prize will launch her onto the stage of one of Germany’s most famous opera theatres, the State Theatre of Hessen in Wiesbaden for a one year opera contract.
The win is a dream come true for the mezzo-soprano who graduated from the University of Southern Queensland and Queensland Conservatorium of Music and has sung with Opera Queensland since 2005.
She was announced winner of the competition after four finalists sang at a concert in Melbourne on Saturday (4 December).
“When they announced the winner I felt like I was dreaming. I have been working towards this for a long time,” she said.
“To win a prize like this is worth more than just money, it’s a job in a respected international opera company and will give me professional experience. It’s life-changing.”
The competition was founded by philanthropist Hans Henkell and is co-sponsored by the German-Australian community and the State Opera Theatre of Weisbaden, near Frankfurt.
Hayley Sugars is packing her bags for Germany already after winning a university scholarship to study German language at the University of Kassel this month.
She will return to teach singing in Toowoomba early next year and sing in various concerts around Australia and at Norfolk Island until she moves to Germany to take up her job in Wiesbaden in June next year.
Her most recent performances include singing the role of Cherubino in Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro in this year’s Brisbane Festival with Opera Queensland and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Sugars has also been acclaimed in other major Australian singing competitions, including selection as a finalist in this year’s Dame Joan Sutherland Award and in an aria competition at Sydney Opera House last year.