Ms Lesley Garrett, CBE FRAM
Patron, The Hospital Saturday Fund
In a wide-ranging career, Lesley Garrett has achieved international recognition as an opera singer, recording artist, musical theatre performer and television personality. Some career highlights are as follows:
Her recordings range from 14 award-winning solo albums to The Magic Flute and Cosi fan Tutte (both conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras).
Her operatic career has taken her from the Wexford and Buxton Festivals to Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Geneva Opera, The Royal Opera and Glyndebourne. As a principal artist with English National Opera she sang in Xerxes, Ariodante, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Mikado, A Masked Ball, The Midsummer Marriage, The Barber of Seville and many others. Musical theatre roles include Eliza Doolittle My Fair Lady (Hollywood Bowl with Jonathan Pryce and the Los Angeles Philharmonic), Nettie Fowler Carousel (West End) and Mother Abbess The Sound of Music (West End and world tour). In concert she has sung with, among others, the Halle (particularly under Sir Mark Elder), the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic, the European Union Chamber Orchestras and often for the RTE.
More recently she has returned to Opera North as Elle in La Voix Humaine and created the role of Val in their world premiere of Mark Simpson’s acclaimed Pleasure. Other appearances include David Pountney’s specially devised productionChorus with WNO, as Despina in Cosi fan Tutte for Garsington Opera and for ENO, creating the role Mrs Rutland in their world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie. Lesley also tours the UK with her retrospective show, An Audience with Lesley Garrett. She appeared recently at the King’s Lynn and Stratford on Avon Festivals, performed with the RPCO at Cadogan Hall and performed at the Belfast Proms in the Park. Lesley was special guest on Radio 4’s Saturday Live and Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ at Christmas. She was a featured guest on BBC TV’s coverage of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations from Buckingham Palace.
She has been awarded the CBE, is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, and holds Honorary Doctorates from both Universities of Sheffield and from the Open University. Her major television appearances include her own record breaking series The Lesley Garrett Show, the first ever series of both Strictly Come Dancing and Who Do You Think You Are?, Loose Women, Celebrity Masterchef, The South Bank Show and a Songs of Praise special – My Story, My Music. She was also for many years presenter of the Lesley Garrett Opera Show on Classic FM.
She undertakes a wide range of charity work and is most proud to be the Patron of the Hospital Saturday Fund
Photo: Lesley Garrett presenting a grant cheque with Paul Jackson, and Baille James Scanlon to Aberdeen University at HSF Charity Reception in Glasgow February 2015
Lesley continues to perform regularly in concert with all the major UK orchestras including the Hallè Orchestra with Sir Mark Elder, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2014 she has toured with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and sang with the Russian National Orchestra and she has recently formed a highly successful new musical partnership with clarinettist Emma Johnson and pianist Andrew West.
Lesley’s operatic career included 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 roles including Xerxes, Ariodante, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, A Midsummer Marriage, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Mikado and Un Ballo in Maschera working with Sir Jonathan Miller, Sir Nicholas Hytner, Richard Jones, Sir Charles Mackerras, David Alden, David Poutney, Sir Mark Elder and Graham Vick amongst many others.
Lesley made her Royal Opera debut in their production of The Merry Widow in 1997. She returned to the Coliseum in a revival of her acclaimed Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Seville, having first performed the role there in 1998 and sang Hannah Glawari in a new production of The Merry Widow with Welsh National Opera. Keen to explore the challenging and different vocal discipline of the West End musical, Lesley has made more recent acclaimed appearances in The Sound of Music and Carousel.
In 2013 Lesley returned to the opera stage with a new production at Opera North in which she enjoyed a great success singing the role of Elle in Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine. In 2015 she sang in a specially devised production of Chorus for Welsh National Opera and Despina in a new production of Cosi Fan Tutte for Garsington Opera. She also gave a UK tour of her ‘An Evening With’, in which she was interviewed about her career, illustrating it with favourite arias and songs, with which she’s become known. In 2016 she received rave reviews for her performance as Val in Opera North’s world premiere production of Mark Simpson’s opera, Pleasure. In the summer she appeared in a very successful series of performances of the music of Richard Rodgers in London with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and was the star guest at the BBC Belfast ‘Proms in the Park’. Last autumn she toured again with ‘An Evening With’ and appeared a number of times on BBC and ITV. She reprises her tour this spring and in the summer stars in a new series of gala concerts, ‘Magic of the Opera’ throughout the country. She has also recorded two songs as a guest artist on the latest CD from G4, as well as performances with them this year.
In 2000 Lesley published her autobiography "Notes from a small soprano." She 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 Board Member. She holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Sheffield and the Open University. She continues to study regularly with Australian born Joy Mammen, her singing teacher for more than 35 years.
For more information on Lesley Garrett please visit www.lesleygarrett.co.uk