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IDEASFACTORY: Music & Sound: A Fine Pair of Lungs
Jane Gilchrist
Denise Leigh
Giuseppe Verdi
San Diego Opera: Operapaedia



Jane Gilchrist

Jane Gilchrist, a mother of four and checkout clerk from southwest England, gained her earliest musical experiences from her father. An appearance at a school eisteddfod (musical competition) led to singing lessons and the beginning of an association with the Clevedon Gilbert and Sullivan Society. She sang Edith in "The Pirates of Penzance" in her teens, and subsequently performed most of the lead soprano roles with the society. For her performance as Rose Maybud in "Ruddigore," she received the 1989 BRISTOL EVENING POST Rose Bowl Award for the Most Outstanding Musical Performer. Since appearing on OPERATUNITY, Jane has given solo recitals, performed in a national UK tour with co-winner Denise Leigh, signed with EMI Classics, and released her first solo album, VOCALISE.

Denise Leigh

Denise Leigh, a stay-at-home mom of three from the West Midlands who is legally blind, began her musical career as a trumpeter before turning to singing. While at school, she played the Narrator in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," which led to an offer by Lord Sainsbury's Gatsby Trust to pay for three years of singing lessons. She received her Associate of the Royal College of Music diploma in 1993 and has since sung at the National Festival of Festivals and at the reopening of the Victoria Hall, Stoke, with the Audley Male Voice Choir. Denise's success on OPERATUNITY has led to a burgeoning singing career with concert appearances throughout England and a record deal with EMI Classics. She released her first solo CD, PIE JESU, in 2004.

Top banner photos: OPERATUNITY winner Denise Leigh; judges John Fraser, Mary King, Paul Daniel, and Leah Hausman; winner Jane Gilchrist

Regional finalists participating in group workshops.

As part of their in-person auditions, the 110 regional finalists also participated in group workshops.

Winner Jane Gilchrist gets vocal coaching from ENO judge Mary King.

Winner Jane Gilchrist gets vocal coaching from ENO panel member Mary King.

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