OPERA star Lesley Garrett will sing in Huddersfield next year as part of Honley Male Voice Choir’s 75th anniversary celebrations.
The choir has pulled off quite a coup in getting the internationally renowned soprano to join them at a gala concert in Huddersfield Town Hall next September.
Lesley was last in the area in July when she sang in Christ Church, New Mill as part of an edition of the BBC’s Songs of Praise in celebration of Last of the Summer Wine.
But it is thought that Lesley has never sung in the Town Hall before and the choir are delighted to be the ones to be joining her there on stage.
“We are thrilled at the prospect of singing with her,” said the choir’s public relations officer Stan Solomons.
“I am sure all our supporters will be delighted and that there will be a high demand for tickets.”
In fact the choir is so convinced of the Lesley effect that they hope to recruit new singers on the strength of her appearance with them, bringing their total membership to 75 in time for the anniversary.
“We are hoping that there will be a flood of applications to join the choir”, said Stan. “After all it’s not every day that we get the chance to appear on the stage with a star performer.”
The concert is on Saturday September 24 and Lesley will sing solo items in both halves of the gala. But she will also sing several numbers with the choir.
Lesley, who is married with a son and daughter, was born in Thorne, near Doncaster. Though she lives in London, she remains close to her northern roots and you can imagine how delighted she must be at the prospect of singing in of the region’s finest concert halls.
That said, Lesley, who was made a CBE eight years ago, has travelled the world thanks to a singing voice that continues to thrill audiences.
She has sung many leading roles in opera. In her early career she sang with Welsh National Opera, Opera North, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera before joining English National Opera in the early Eighties.
At ENO, Lesley starred in many productions and won critical acclaim for both comic and serious roles.
She swiftly became Britain’s favourite soprano thanks to her extraordinary voice, and her determination to get more people listening to opera.
Lesley also does concert work and has played to great acclaim in musicals such as Carousel and The Sound Of Music.
Her career has seen her travel extensively giving performances throughout Europe, the USA, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.
Lesley has made 13 solo albums, many of them achieving gold and silver discs. Her Soprano in Red CD won her the Gramophone Award for Best-selling Classical Artist of the Year.
She’s also a familiar face on our TV screens with her own series where she sang with artists ranging from Renee Fleming and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Marti Pellow, to Michel Legrand and Elaine Paige.
The South Bank Show made a documentary devoted to Lesley and her work, but she’s also enjoyed a twirl around the dance floor as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
More details, including ticket prices will be announced later but the concert is certain to be the highlight of the Honley choir’s anniversary year and one that will give their celebrations that extra sparkle.