Adele Leigh
Get Adele Leigh essential facts below. View Videos or join the Adele Leigh discussion. Add Adele Leigh to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Adele Leigh
Adele Leigh
Born(1928-06-15)15 June 1928
London, England
Died23 May 2004(2004-05-23) (aged 75)
OccupationOperatic soprano

Adele Leigh (15 June 1928 - 23 May 2004) was an English operatic soprano, later the wife of the Austrian ambassador in London.

Early life

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.[1]

Leigh trained at RADA and later at the Juilliard School, New York, and in 1948 joined the opera company at Covent Garden.[2]


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.[1]

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.[1]

In 1958, she acted in Davy, the last Ealing Comedy to be made by Ealing Studios, directed by Michael Relph and starring Harry Secombe, Alexander Knox and Ron Randell.[3]

In 1958, she performed at the Royal Variety Performance.

Leigh appeared twice on Desert Island Discs, in 1965[4] and 1988.[5]

Personal life

After her Covent Garden career, she married American bass-baritone James Pease, a widower 15 years her senior, who soon died from a heart attack while they were both singing at the Zürich Opera.[1]

In 1967, she met and, within a fortnight, married Kurt Enderl [de], then Austrian Ambassador to Hungary and later to the UK.[6]

She died on 23 May 2004.[a]

Notes and references


  1. ^ Some sources say she died in Vienna,[6] others say in London.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d "Obituaries: Adele Leigh". The Daily Telegraph. 2004-05-26. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Newley, Patrick (2004-07-05). "Obituaries: Adele Leigh". Retrieved 2019.(subscription required)
  3. ^ "Davy (1957) | BFI". Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Adele Leigh". BBC. Retrieved 2021.
  5. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Desert Island Discs, Adele Leigh". BBC. Retrieved 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Adele Leigh". The Scotsman (obituary). 3 June 2004. Retrieved 2021.
  7. ^ "Operettenstar Adele Leigh 75-jährig gestorben", Der Standard, 1 June 2004 (in German

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes