New Zealand Soprano Anna Leese completed a Bachelor of Music degree with First Class Honours at the University of Otago. Anna is the recipient of an impressive number of Australasian awards and prizes, including the Royal Overseas League Vocal competition (being named best overseas competitor in the same competition) and the Richard Tauber Prize as well as the Maggie Teyte and Sybil Tutton awards. Anna has also represented New Zealand in the Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
In 2019, Anna will perform the role of Governess (Turn of the Screw) for New Zealand Opera, Haydn Nelson Mass with Auckland Choral Society, Mozart Requiem with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and also return to Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for “A Baroque Easter”.
Since graduating from London's RCM Benjamin Britten International Opera School, Anna has performed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as Tamiri (II Re Pastore), Musetta (La bohème), Micaela (Carmen), First Lady (Die Zauberflöte) and Echo (Ariadne auf Naxos). Other roles have included Musetta with the Canadian Opera Company and at the Royal Albert Hall; Antonia (Les contes d’Hoffmann) for Opera Köln; Tatyana (Eugene Onegin) for Flanders Opera; Biancofiore (Francesca di Rimini), Suzel (L’amico Fritz) and Tatyana for Opera Holland Park; and Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte) with the Classical Opera Company, UK. In New Zealand she has performed Ilia (Idomeneo), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Tatyana, Majenka (The Bartered Bride) and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni).
Anna made her debut at the 2006 BBC Proms in an all-Mozart programme with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Sir Roger Norrington, and has appeared in a number of opera gala concerts with Jose Carreras. Further concert engagements have included Mahler 2nd Symphony with Bernard Haitink (RCM Benjamin Britten International Opera School), Beethoven 9th Symphony in Madrid with Carlo Rizzi, Elijah with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Vaughan Williams’s Sea Symphony with the Malaysian Philharmonic, Mahler 2nd Symphony and Messiah with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the roles of Anna (Nabucco) and Freia (Das Rheingold) in concerts with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Eckehard Stier, as well as recitals with the Prince Consort at the Wigmore Hall.
Recent engagements include Micaela in Carmen for Festival Opera in Napier, Mary/Luck in a new work by Ross Harris (libretto by Vincent O’Sullivan), Brass Poppies, for New Zealand Festival in both Wellington and Auckland, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Bach Musica NZ, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang (Hymn of Praise): Symphony No. 2 with the Auckland Choral Society, Tally Ho! and Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, both with Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, ‘Summer Matinee’ with Auckland Philharmonia, a tour with ‘Takiri’ for Chamber Music New Zealand, and Messiah with the Queensland and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, a concert performance as High Priestess in Aida with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a recital at the Arts Festival Dunedin, concerts with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Anthony Richie’s new oratorio Gallipoli to the Somme in London and Oxford with the Parliament Choir and Southbank Sinfonia.
Anna has recorded Elgar’s The Apostles in Canterbury Cathedral with the Canterbury Choral Society, a debut recital disc for EMI with Graham Johnson, a Haydn disc on the Michael Storrs Music label, and ‘Italian Love Songs’ under the Champs Hill label.
"...the sheer vocal presence of Anna Leese's fine soprano provided an element of theatricality that might have surprised even Mendelssohn." - The Guardian (5 March, 2009)
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