Opera singer hopes to cast spell over home audience
Bringing the Magic Of The Opera to life is tenor Lee Bradley's aim with a new tour coming to Blackpool next month.
And the Opera House performance will be even more special for Lee as he was born and brought up in St Annes.
Lee spends much of his time touring internationally, so he’s looking forward to travelling the UK, and performing a little closer to home in the show, which stars Lesley Garrett as well as the National Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tenor Lee started singing aged 15, doing ‘normal stuff’, when he was noticed by a local talent agency which suggested his voice was more suited to opera.
“If I do an opera, I tend to play the leading roles, because of the voice I have,” the 33-year-old said. “But I prefer concert work.
“For operas, you have to lock yourself in a room for three months to learn it, and that time’s not always available.”
Lee’s looking forward to singing alongside Lesley - as a classical singer who has helped bring opera to the masses throughout her career, which is the aim of the new tour hosted by the newly-formed production company UK Theatre Bureau.
“I first met Lesley as we had the same vocal coach,” he said. “She’s a lovely lady, very bubbly, just as she appears to be.
“The important thing about this concert, and the belief of all the performers, is that opera as music is for everybody.
“It has this reputation as being for certain types of person, but that’s not the case.
“We want to get rid of that clique. It’s for the guy in the fish and chip shop who hears Nessun Dorma, but doesn’t know anything about it other than that he likes it.
“As well as singing the songs, we’ll be explaining the storylines a bit too.”
Also joining Lee on stage will be the 60-piece orchestra conducted by Ben Crick and baritone John Cunningham and mezzo soprano Hannah Mason.
The show will contain favourites including the Toreador song from Carmen, Mozart’s Marriage Of Figaro, Time To Say Goodbye, Verdi’s Anvil Chorus, the Pearl Fishers duet, Ave Maria and, of course, Nessun Dorma.
“I have been to the Opera House a few times, but not for a long time,” Lee said.
“At 17 or 18 I was doing appearances there.
“So it’s really nice to know I’ll be on home territory.
“To be honest, with the 60-piece orchestra, we’ll need a venue of the size of the Opera House, to make the most of it.”
Lee cites celebrated mezzo soprano Sarah Walker as having discovered him, and suggesting to the Royal Opera House that they listen to him sing.
But instead of joining the Royal Opera House, he secured a scholarship to London’s Royal Academy of Music.
He’s gone on to perform recitals in Italy and Russion, and concerts in America and Africa, and has performed as the principal soloist at ‘Last Night Of The Proms’ concerts around the UK.
A spokesman for Magic Of The Opera said: “This will be an experience to remember for those who’ve already been to one of the great opera houses of the world, for anyone whose experience of opera is limited to what they’ve heard on a television advert and for everyone in between.”
* Magic Of The Opera, Thursday, June 15, Opera House, Blackpool. Visit www.wintergardensblackpool.com for tickets.