Visiting Artist - French Song and Performance Presentation
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
Deborah Lea is a former professional opera singer, now vocal and language coach, specialising in French repertoire and performance skills.
Born in Wales, she is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she studied with Caroline Crawshaw.
In 1983, Deborah was the winner of the Miriam Licette scholarship for French Song, after which she spent time in Paris studying with soprano Christiane Eda-Pierre, where she had the privilege of working in depth on French chanson repertoire and operatic roles.
After studying in Paris and while still a student, she commenced her performance career in Glyndebourne Festival chorus and there she later performed the roles of Cenerentola (title role cover) and Hippolyta (Midsummer Night’s Dream).
Deborah was awarded a scholarship to study at the National Opera Studio in London before embarking on a solo career, during which she performed with many of the UK opera companies as a soloist, including Scottish Opera, Kent Opera, City of Birmingham Opera and also became principal house mezzo-soprano with Welsh National Opera, where her roles included Dorabella, Rosina and the title role in Carmen.
Whilst with WNO, Deborah was honoured to sing the role of Madame Dangeville on a Decca recording of Adriana Lecouvreur, with Dame Joan Sutherland in the title role. Deborah also sang in an arena production of Carmen in Paris with Teresa Berganza, with Der Nederlandse Opera in Holland and performed in recitals across Europe.
Deborah took an early interest in French repertoire and now focuses on making this study enjoyable and more easily accessible for young singers. Having gained considerable performance experience in French repertoire in her career as a working singer, Deborah has now devised her own method of teaching French to English speaking singers and regularly holds classes with UK students from the Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity Laban, and internationally with students from the TU Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama and LED in Delhi, developing an international profile as a French vocal coach.
Deborah also coaches singers at international opera houses, including Hannover, Wiesbaden and at the ERL Festival in Austria. As well as coaching soloists, Deborah enjoys working with choirs and has recently completed a project together with Kantos Chamber choir recording at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. She also translates French opera into English for use in performances.
Deborah is passionate about stage direction and teaching students the art of how to perform and move on stage. She enjoys actively sharing her own performance experience and knowledge and is a published author of a book containing useful information for young singers at the beginning of their careers.
Occasionally, Deborah can still be persuaded to tread the boards on the opera stage – her most recent performances were as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel and the Doctor/Therapist in a new opera by composer Edward Wright on the subject of Alzheimer’s disease, performed in both English and Welsh.
Qualifications and Background
MA in French Translation (University of Portsmouth)