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Photo: Rapael Neal

CN Lester

Voice Type:

Mezzo-Soprano

Nationality:

British

Country:

United Kingdom

Languages (fluent):

English

Opera

Mercedes
Carmen (Bizet)
Glass Ceiling Opera
2018
Nerone
L'incoronazione di Poppea (Monteverdi)
Hampstead Garden Opera
2017
Dido
Dido and Aeneas (Purcell)
Ursula's Arrow, St John's Waterloo
2014
Romeo
I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bellini)
Opera Undone
2014
Sorceress
Dido and Aeneas (Purcell)
Opera Alumnus
2014

Contemporary Opera

Thea
The Conifers (Joel Rust)
Jerwood Opera Open Sessions at Snape Maltings
2018
Sgt Patrick
Returns (James Cave)
Left Bank Leeds
2017
Psyche
Psyche (Alex Groves)
Tete a Tete Festival
2015
Ariel
They Heavily Vanish (Timothy Thornton)
Tete a Tete Festival
2015
Sgt Patrick
Returns (James Cave)
Rough for Opera, Cockpit Theatre
2015
Mezzo Soloist
Psyche, Locus (Alex Groves)
CLF Arts Cafe
2015
Mezzo Soloist
Locus (Alex Groves)
National Theatre
2014
Psyche
Psyche (Alex Groves)
Tete a Tete Festival
2014
Mezzo Soloist
Stupid Cupid (Sarah Dacey)
Tete a Tete Festival
2014
Ariel
They Heavily Vanish (Timothy Thornton)
Opera UpClose Flourish Showcase
2014

Oratorio/Concerts

Mezzo Soloist
Selected works (Barbara Strozzi)
United Nations, Bloomsbury Theatre
2017
Mezzo Soloist
Selected works (Barbara Strozzi & Claudio Monteverdi)
University of Huddersfield, HIP Festival
2016
Solo performance
Selected arias (Barbara Strozzi)
Brighton Early Music Festival
2015
Mezzo Soloist
Sacred works (Barbara Strozzi)
Waldbrook Music Trust
2015
Solo performance
Selected art song (Britten, Ireland, Vaughan Williams, Ives)
Neighbourhood Concerts
2015
Mezzo Soloist
Secular music of Barbara Strozzi (Strozzi)
Ursula's Arrow, St Peter's Vauxhall
2014
Mezzo Soloist
A Celebration of Barbara Strozzi (Strozzi)
Ursula's Arrow, Lumen URC
2014
Mezzo Soloist
Das Buch der hängenden Gärten (Schoenberg)
Schotts Music
2013

Various/Mixed

Solo performance
New commissioned vocal works (CN Lester)
Barbican Theatre
2017
Solo performance
Newly commissioned vocal works (CN Lester)
Barbican Theatre
2016

Other

Mezzo-soprano ensemble
Timeless Tour (Goldie/Heritage Orchestra)
Festival Hall & Bristol Amphitheatre
2015
Mezzo-soprano ensemble
Timeless - new arrangement (Goldie/Heritage Orchestra)
Meltdown Festival, Festival Hall
2014

Covered Covered & Performed Scenes Premiere of New Work Concert

CN Lester 2018 1

CN Lester 2018 Headshot 3 copy

CN Lester 2018 Headshot 4 copy

CN Lester 2018 Headshot2 copy

CN Lester classical

CN Lester psyche

CN Lester Romeo

CN Lester Romeo 2

CN Lester Romeo 3

Psyche performance

“…sheer beauty of the music emanating from astonishing mezzo-soprano CN Lester …the painful purity and fierceness of CN’s voice was almost alienating in its smooth intensity.” - Marylebone Journal

“…their duets were the highlight of the night, wrapping their voices around each other and the music with a perfect balance. Lester nailed the surly impulsive passion of the young Romeo.” - Gscene

“Astonishing vocals.” – DIVA

“CN Lester is Dido, performing the Queen’s lament with such intensity that the audience is stunned into total silence. “ – Fringe Opera

“CN’s charismatic performance captured the drama of these pieces perfectly. The vocal talent was unquestionable.” – Gay Times

“Lester's tonal variety was particularly impressive, imbuing Nerone with complexity. ” Early Music Today

“Mezzo soprano CN Lester as Romeo had a stunning, velvety voice that revelled in Bellini’s sweeping melodies.” – Fringe Opera

Doctor of Philosophy, Performance and Performance Practice
University of Huddersfield, MuGI
2015–2018
MMus, Performance and Related Studies
Goldsmiths, University of London
2008–2009

CN Lester is a mezzo-soprano specialising in male roles, early and contemporary musics, a researcher, and a composer.

As an operatic soloist they’ve worked with Snape Maltings, Glass Ceiling Opera, Tete a Tete Festival, Hampstead Garden Opera, Hanbury & Groves, Opera Undone, Co-Opera, Silent Opera and ENO Mini Operas. They were Creative Director and mezzo for En Travesti Ensemble, and their research on castrati and travesti roles has been showcased by Classic FM.

With soprano Sarah Dacey, guitarist/lutenist Toby Carr, and harpist Aileen Henry they perform as Ursula’s Arrow – an early music ensemble devoted to promoting the works of women composers. Ursula's Arrow have most recently performed for the United Nation's He4She campaign.

They collaborate frequently with composers Alex Groves, James Cave, and Timothy Thornton, and have a particular interest in interactive and one-on-one works.

CN studied composition with Jonathan Cole and Silvina Milstein. Their first opera, The Lion-Faced Man, for static image, mezzo-soprano and piano trio, was premiered at the 2015 Tete a Tete Festival.

CN is a performance and performance practice doctoral student at MuGI, University of Huddersfield, focusing on questions of gender and reception in composition and performance, particularly in relation to the works and reception of Barbara Strozzi. They received their BMus from Kings College London, their MMus from Goldsmiths, and is a student of Alison Wells.

They work as a session and backing singer with Heritage Voices, providing vocals for everything from reworked drum and bass at the Festival Hall to film trailers and commercials

Contact CN Lester

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