Deborah Lea, Mezzo-Soprano
& Associate Artistic Director
Born in Aberystwyth and formerly known as Deborah Stuart-Roberts, Deborah studied at the RNCM with Caroline Crawshaw, undertaking many performance roles, including Female Chorus (Rape of Lucretia), Popova (The Bear) and the role of Queen Elizabeth in Gloriana.
In 1983, she won the Miriam Licette Scholarship, which enabled her to study in Paris with the French soprano Christiane Eda-Pierre.
She made her professional début in 1984 with Scottish Opera in Rossini’s Silken Ladder and Marriage Contract. Later that year, she won the Peter Stuyvesant aware for study at the National Opera Studio.
In 1985, Deborah became principal mezzo-soprano with Welsh National Opera, taking on roles such as Wellgunde (The Ring), Rosina (Barber of Seville), Dorabella (Cosi Fan Tutte) – with Anne Williams-King – and the title role in Carmen.
In 1988, she sang alongside Dame Joan Sutherland on a WNO Decca recording of Adriana Lecouvreur.
She has appeared with Glyndebourne Opera (Midsummer Night’s Dream and La Cenerentola), City of Birmingham Touring Opera (Magic Flute) and De Nederlandse Opera (now DNO) as Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. Deborah has also performed the role of Mercedes in an arena performance of Carmen at the Bercy stadium in Paris, featuring Teresa Berganza.
One of her more unusual experiences was to sing an aria from La Wally, stood in the back of a moving, open-top, vintage Bentley in a stadium in Qingdao, China to a crowd of 30,000 people.
Deborah comes from a musical family – her great uncle was Darrell Fancourt, principal bass with the D’Oyly Carte opera company and her great aunt was Laura Evans-Williams, one of the first Welsh sopranos to work in the USA and who sang the title role in the Welsh opera “Blodwen”.
Deborah now enjoys using her performance and stagecraft experience to help and encourage young singers at the start of their careers.