|Born||15 June 1928|
|Died||23 May 2004(aged 75)|
Adele Leigh (15 June 1928 - 23 May 2004) was an English operatic soprano, later the wife of the Austrian ambassador in London.
Leigh was born in London on 15 June 1928. Her father left when she was two and she was brought up in Highbury by her mother, Betty, and her Polish-Jewish immigrant grandparents. At the start of World War II, the family moved to Reading, where they all shared one rented room in a large house. A few years later, the family returned to London, and she went to Crouch End High School for Girls.
In 1948, Leigh was recruited by the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and was, at 19 years old, the youngest principal among such future stars as Geraint Evans and Sylvia Fisher. The previous day, impresario C. B. Cochran had signed her in the leading role of Bless the Bride, a new musical by Vivian Ellis and A. P. Herbert. After much negotiating, Cochran released Leigh from the contract.
Leigh made her Covent Garden debut as Countess Ceprano in Verdi's Rigoletto. She first achieved critical notice as Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro, soon adding Susanna and Cherubino to her repertoire. She went on to sing Pamina in The Magic Flute and the title role in Massenet's Manon, which she learnt in a week. She sang Sophie in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, under Erich Kleiber, and the Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio under Rudolf Kempe.
In 1958, she performed at the Royal Variety Performance.
She died on 23 May 2004.[a]