Stagecoach Southwell alumna Carly Paoli 28, has hit the big time in the classical music scene, singing with international operatic stars, headlining concerts and bringing out her first album. 

Carly Paoli attended Stagecoach Southwell, near her home town of Mansfield, and has been a keen singer since she was three. “I’d sing along to all the Disney musicals and the old MGM musicals, like Singing in the Rain and Meet Me in St Louis,” says Carly, who’s a classical singer with an international career.

This picture, Carly with Andrea Bocelli, performing in Florence.

At her first-end-of-term Stagecoach concert, nine-year-old Carly gave a solo performance of ‘Edelweiss’ from The Sound of Music. In the audience was singing teacher Liz Hetherington, who suggested to Carly’s mum that Carly should have one-to-one singing lessons. “I carried on with Stagecoach for another three years while having private lessons with Liz,” says Carly. “I was very blessed to find the right person at the right time. The way Liz explains it is that my voice was always bigger than my body, so it took me a while to grow into it.”

It was while she was at Stagecoach that Carly experienced her first big audience, playing the lead in Southwell Minster in 1999, when she was 10. It was part of a global Stagecoach event, where companies from all round the world produced Rainbow Juggler. There were 56 performances simultaneously, raising £60,000 for UNICEF and getting into the Guinness World Records.

At 16, Carly won a scholarship to study musical theatre at Tring Park School for Performing Arts, where she was later talent-spotted for a classical singing course at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
Being so musically gifted was a bit of a mixed blessing for the young Carly, both exciting and isolating at the same time. “I knew I had something different,” she says, “but even as a child I was mixing with other people who wanted to be on stage, which helped. It was also a huge advantage to know what I wanted to do from such an early age. Not many people have that.”

Carly sang in Rome’s Fori Imperialli in June 2017

A few career highlights
• Singing a duet with opera legend José Carreras at Windsor Castle for HRH The Prince of Wales in 2015.
• Performing with Andrea Bocelli and Zubin Mehta at the Celebrity Fight Night Galas in Florence in 2015 and 2016.
• Headlining a concert at the Forum in Rome, which also featured Elaine Paige, David Foster, Andrea Bocelli and The Tenors.

Last year, she released her first album, Singing My Dreams, which consists mostly of songs for which she has written the lyrics, including one inspired by the loss of her grandmother. It can be purchased through her website, iTunes and Amazon.
Carly is half-Italian on her mother’s side and spent all her childhood summers in Puglia, southern Italy, with her Italian relatives. “They are very musical on that side of the family and I used to sing in the piazzas in Puglia, because in Italy everyone gathers outside in the warm summer evenings.“I’d like to think my future is going to be performing my own songs, because I love the combination of an operatic voice with the storytelling elements of musical theatre.”

You can find out more about Carly – and buy her album – at