Lesley Garrett is an opera singer from Yorkshire who has also reached mainstream fame with her “crossover” music. A top soprano, she was awarded a CBE by the Queen in 2002 for services to music.
She is also a regular face on television, dancing in the first series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2004 as well as serving as a panelist on ITV daytime show Loose Women.
How did Lesley Garrett become famous?
Born in South Yorkshire, Garrett inherited her family’s love of music and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music. She won the prestigious Decca Prize of the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 1979 and, in the same year, made her professional debut in the opera Orontea in Italy.
Five years later she had become principal soprano at English National Opera.
But she also gained a reputation beyond the usual opera audience, performing with Bryan Ferry, Eurythmics and Mick Hucknall in a concert to celebrate the new millennium. In 2006 she sang the role of Mother Abbess in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s revival of The Sound of Music.
Before Strictly was the huge show it is today, Garrett took part and reached the final three with her partner Anton du Beke.
She’s also had her own episode of Who Do You Think You Are? where she traced her family’s musical roots, and she’s put in plenty of appearances in the game show Countdown.
Loose Women signed her up as a panelist in 2006 and since then has popped up on the show in 2009, 2010 and 2014.
Garrett has also used her media profile to promote classical opera, with TV shows including Christmas Voices and Sky series Lesley Garrett’s 20 Operas to See Before You Die.
As a recording artist, Garrett has released 11 solo albums, including the popular Soprano in Red.
She has been married to doctor Peter since 1991. Together they have a son and a daughter. The couple now lives in north London.