Magazine article Opera Canada

Leslie Ann Bradley

Magazine article Opera Canada

Leslie Ann Bradley

Article excerpt

This past winter found Canadian-born, New York-based soprano Leslie Ann Bradley busier than ever, making her debut with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as soloist in Mozart's Coronation Mass and Laudate dominum and then following this with two of her favourite Mozart ladies--Donna Elvira in Doll 001'411111i for Vancouver Opera and the Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro for Pacific Opera Victoria. At that TSO concert, the familiar Laudate dorninum was particularly intriguing; it's a glorious paean to the soprano voice, but also decidedly an acid test. The trickiest phrase is near the end, when the soprano enters on a F dolcissimo, seemingly out of thin air, then soars to a magnificent crescendo in a line that requires consummate poise and seemingly inexhuastible reserves of breath. The exacting passage sounded like a cakewalk for BracIle; who executed it with a lovely shimmering soprano.

Born and raised in Port Perry, Ontario, Bradley's father is a farmer and her mother a fashion stylist; "1 received a good edu-cation--from Coco 'Chanel to John Deere," she quips in a new promotional video she made in the U.K. last year. While her music-loving parents recognized her talents, an organist-grandmother inspired the young Leslie Ann to a life in music. One of her earliest memories is of standing on a piano bench as a five-year-old singing through the hymn book with her grandmother at the keyboard. "Apparently, I told my Grade 9 typing teacher that I was going to be an opera singer," she says, even though she hadn't gone to an opera at that point. "I saw this thing on TV which turned out to be La traviata, and I knew right then and there that's What I wanted to do."

Bradley learned from some of the best voice teachers in Canada and abroad. She speaks fondly of her first teacher at University of Toronto, Mary Morrison: "She was terrific. I was hungry to learn and she fed meas much as I could absorb, music of all kinds from Baroque to new music." Her lyric soprano has always had an upper extension with excellent coloratura, so her first professional engagement was as the Queen of the Night for Saskatoon Opera at age 20. "Instead of saying no, Mary was encouraging. …

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