Lesley Garrett, CBE, is Britain’s most popular soprano, regularly appearing in both opera and in concert, on television and CD; she has won both critical acclaim and the affection of many fans and music lovers. As a recording artist, she has fourteen solo CDs to her credit; Soprano in Red received the Gramophone Award for 'Best-selling Classical Artist of the Year', Diva! A Soprano At The Movies, Prima Donna, Simple Gifts, Soprano in Red, Soprano in Hollywood and I Will Wait for You all received silver discs and A Soprano Inspired and Lesley Garrett both achieved gold discs. Recent albums are Travelling Light, The Singer, So Deep is the Night, When I Fall in Love, and Amazing Grace. She was also a featured artist on the platinum selling Perfect Day single released by the BBC in aid of Children in Need. Her most recent classical recording was the role of Despina for Sir Charles Mackerras's recording of The Magic Flute. Lesley's new album A North Country Lass was released in April 2012.
Lesley's major television appearances include Lesley Garrett…Tonight, The Lesley Garrett Show, The Singer, Sacred Songs and Lesley Garrett – Desert Dreams for the BBC. Other BBC appearances have included the documentary Jobs for the Girls with Linda Robson and Pauline Quirke, Viva la Diva and The Lily Savage Show. Lesley was also the subject of a South Bank Show on LWT.
Lesley’s operatic career included early engagements at the Wexford Festival, Buxton Festival, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera before joining English National Opera in 1984. During her time with ENO, Lesley starred in many productions and won critical acclaim for her portrayals of both comic and serious role working with Sir Jonathan Miller, Nicholas Hytner, Richard Jones, Sir Charles Mackerras, David Alden, David Poutney, Sir Mark Elder and Graham Vick amongst others. Lesley made her Royal Opera debut in their production of The Merry Widow in 1997. She returned to the Coliseum in the spring of 2001 for a revival of her acclaimed Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Seville, having first performed it there in 1998.
Internationally Lesley has performed throughout Europe, the USA , Australia, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.
For Millennium Eve, Lesley sang opera and pop classics with Bryan Ferry, The Eurythmics and Mick Hucknall in the grounds of the Royal Observatory and National Maritime Museum in Greenwich to celebrate the arrival of the new century. In 2000 her autobiography Notes from a Small Soprano was published by Hodder and Stoughton and during that year she appeared at the first-ever Classical Brit Awards, a gala fundraising concert and musical celebration for Dame Elizabeth Taylor and performed the very last Abide With Me at the 2000 FA Cup Final (prior to the closure of Wembley Stadium) in aid of the NSPCC. In 2003, Lesley joined the radio station Classic FM as a weekly presenter.
In January 2004, Lesley took part in the inauguration ceremony for Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 before travelling to Australia for concerts at the renowned Leeuwin Winery with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and guest artist, Anthony Warlow. She returned to Australia in 2005 for a concert tour with Anthony. Also in 2004 Lesley was invited to be one of the celebrity dancers on the BBC1 hit show Strictly Come Dancing, together with her professional dance partner, Anton Du Beke, she reached the semi-finals of the competition. In the autumn she sang the role of The Fox in Rachel Portman’s new opera, The Little Prince, filmed for BBC2 and took part in BBC2’s series Who Do You Think You Are?. In February 2005 Lesley was invited to be one of the judges for BBC's Comic Relief Does Fame Academy and in May she both sang at and hosted the 2005 Classical Brit Awards at the Royal Albert Hall and on ITV. In the autumn, Lesley took the title role in Welsh National Opera's new production of The Merry Widow which toured the UK. In spring 2006 Lesley joined ITV's hit show Loose Women as a regular weekly panellist and in the autumn she performed the role of the Mother Abbess in a new production at the London Palladium of The Sound of Music.
In 2007 Lesley presented a new series for BBC 1 Christmas Voices which returned to the BBC in autumn 2008 when she performed the role of Nettie in a new production of Carousel in the West End. In 2011, Lesley returned to The Sound of Music for the final two weeks of the production. Earlier in the year she co-presented a four part series for BBC1 celebrating the Royal Wedding called When Royals Wed with Larry Lamb and performed once again at the BBC Last Night of the Proms from Belfast. Lesley continues to perform regularly in concert with all the major UK orchestras including the Halle Orchestra with Sir Mark Elder, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and she has recently formed a new musical partnership with clarinettist Emma Johnson and pianist Andrew West.
In 2013 Lesley will be returning to the opera stage with a new production at Opera North singing the role of Elle in Poulenc's La Voix Humaine.
Lesley was awarded a CBE in the 2002 New Year's Honours List for Services to Music and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and an RAM Governor.Updated 17/08/12
|The Mikado||Yum Yum||ENO/BBC|
|The Rise & Fall of the City of Mahagonny||Jenny||ENO|
|La Belle Vivette||Vivette||ENO|
|Cunning Little Vixen||Vixen||ENO|
|The Merry Widow||Hanna/Valencienne||ROH/ENO/WNO|
|Barber of Seville||Rosina||ENO|
|Marriage of Figaro||Susanna||ENO/ON|
|Cosi fan Tutte||Despina||GTO/ENO|
|Peter Grimes||2nd Neice||Geneva Opera|
|Marriage of Figaro||Barbarina||Geneva Opera|
|The Little Prince||The Fox||ROH/BBC2|