Lesley Garrett was born in South Yorkshire and studied first with Vivien Pike and later, at the Royal Academy of Music, with Joy Mammen, with whom she continues to study. Her operatic career began at Opera North with Sophie, Werther and Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro. She returned to the Company in 2013 as Elle, La Voix Humaine.
At English National Opera she has sung roles in Xerxes, Ariodante, The Cunning Little Vixen, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, The Mikado and Un Ballo in Maschera, working with Charles Mackerras, Mark Elder, Jonathan Miller, Nicholas Hytner, Richard Jones, David Alden and David Pountney amongst others. Other engagements include: Servilia La Clemenza di Tito (Geneva); The Merry Widow (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut); Rosina The Barber of Seville (ENO) Hanna Glawari The Merry Widow and Chorus (WNO) and Despina Cosi for Garsington Opera. She performed My Fair Lady in the Hollywood Bowl with Jonathan Pryce and In the West End, she starred in The Sound of Music and Carousel.
Lesley has recorded fourteen solo CD albums, winning gold and platinum discs and also the coveted Gramophone Award. Her most recent operatic recording was Despina on Charles Mackerras’s recording of Così fan tutte and her most recent solo album, A North Country Lass, was released in April 2012.
Her countless television appearances include three of her own record-breaking television series Lesley Garrett Tonight and the Lesley Garrett Show, as well as many other programmes, including Strictly Come Dancing and Who do You Think You Are.
Internationally, she has performed throughout Europe, the USA, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea. Recent engagements include concerts and recitals in Aldeburgh, Glasgow and at the Harrogate International Festival.
She was awarded the CBE for her services to music in 2002, is a Fellow of the RAM and holds Honorary Doctorates from both Universities of Sheffield and from the Open University.
In 2015 she appeared in David Pountney’s specially devised production Chorus with WNO and in the summer sang Despina Cosi fan tutte for Garsington Opera. She also toured the UK with her new retrospective show, An Audience with Lesley Garrett and again last year. On 2016 Lesley created the role of Val in Opera North’s world premiere production of Marc Simpson’s Pleasure. She appeared at the King’s Lynn and Stratford on Avon Festival, 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.
In 2016 Lesley became our Patron.