Lesley Garrett CBE is Britain’s best known soprano, regularly appearing in opera, music theatre, concert, on television and CD. For more than 30 years she has enjoyed one of the most successful and idiosyncratic careers of any modern-day, classically trained soprano, winning both critical acclaim and the affection of many fans and music lovers through the breadth and diversity of her work.
Internationally Lesley has performed throughout Europe, the USA, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.
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.
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 roles.
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.
Internationally Lesley Garrett has performed throughout Europe, the USA, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea, where she sang Happy Birthday for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the presence of the Queen during her State visit to the country.
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, Greenwich.
In 2000, her autobiography Notes from a Small Soprano was published and during that year she appeared at the first-ever Classical Brit Awards 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 2004, Lesley took part in the inauguration ceremony for Cunard's Queen Mary 2 before travelling to Australia for concerts with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. She returned to Australia in 2005. Also in 2004 Lesley was invited to be one of the celebrity dancers on the first series of 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 2005 Lesley was invited to be one of the judges of the BBC's Comic Relief Does Fame Academy and in May she both sang at and hosted the 2005 Classical Brit Awards, filmed at the Royal Albert Hall. In 2006 Lesley joined ITV's hit show Loose Women as a regular weekly guest 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 BBC1 Christmas Voices. In 2011, she returned to The Sound of Music for the final two weeks of the production. Earlier that year, she co-presented a four part series for BBC1 celebrating the Royal Wedding and performed once again at the BBC Last Night of the Proms in Belfast.
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’.
After several high-profile summer concerts she toured the UK again in autumn 2019 with her one-woman show and also made her pantomime debut as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the New Wimbledon Theatre. She was to reprise the role of Catherine Eddoes in 2020 with Opera North, but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another tour of her one-woman show also fell victim to postponement but took place in 2021 and she repeated a further tour in 2022. Lesley Garrett recorded a special tribute single to the late Queen Elizabeth II, which topped the Classical charts.
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 Board Member. She holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Sheffield and the Open University.