Praised in The Guardian as “the most all-round compelling Sieglinde I have heard since the great Helga Dernesch,” Lee Bisset was born in Scotland, which she represented at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio, before joining the Young Singers’ Programme at English National Opera.
She established a firm relationship with Longborough Festival Opera, where she has sung the title roles in Katya Kabanova and Tosca, Tatyana Eugene Onegin, Gutrune Götterdämmerung, Freia Das Rheingold, Isolde Tristan und Isolde and Sieglinde Die Walküre, and her UK engagements have includedLeonore Fidelio and Senta Der fliegende Holländer for the Dorset Opera Festival, the title role inJenufa for Scottish Opera, the title role in Tosca for Northern Ireland Opera and Third Norn Götterdämmerung and Freia Das Rheingold for Opera North. She has also covered Senta Der fliegende Holländer for the Royal Opera.
International engagements have included the title role in Tosca for Opera Memphis, Senta Der fliegende Holländer for the Ópera de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Sieglinde Die Walküre at the Ópera São Paulo, as well as concerts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
Conductors with whom she has worked include Mikhail Agrest, David Angus, Nisa Bareza, Andrew Bisantz, Jeremy Carnall, Nicholas Chalmers, Richard Farnes, Edward Gardner, Anthony Legge, Luiz Malheiro, Anthony Negus, Peter Robinson, David Stern, Stuart Stratford, Phillip Thomas and Willie Waters.
Recent engagements have included the title role in Jenufa for Longborough Festival Opera, Minnie La Fanciulla del West for Opera Omaha, Lady MacbethMacbeth for the Dorset Opera Festival, a return to Opera North as Third Norn Götterdämmerung and Sieglinde Die Walküre, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 at the Teatro Real, Madrid, Mahler Symphony No. 8 and Sibelius Songs with the Orchestra of Opera North and a Wagner Concert at the Theatro São Pedro, Brazil.
Current engagements include Yaroslavna Prince Igor for Chelsea Opera Group, a return to Opera Omaha in the title role of Tosca, further performances as Isolde Tristan und Isolde for Longborough Festival Opera and Brünnhilde Götterdämmerung for The Mastersingers. With the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, she will sing the première performances of Piet Swerts’ Symphony of Trees.
Please note that this biography is not to be used for programmes. Current information is available on request.
Yaroslavna: Prince Igor / Chelsea Opera Group
“Lee Bisset’s Yaroslavna offered grand scale indignation…”
“Bisset delivered Yaroslavna’s music of foreboding, longing and righteous fury with bright intensity…”
Leonore: Fidelio / Dorset Opera Festival
“Lee Bisset was a convincing Leonore, full-bodied and red-blooded in voice and character…”
Jenufa / Scottish Opera
“…taking the honours were Lee Bisset’s desperate Jenufa and Peter Wedd’s Laca who gave astonishing performances.”
“Lee Bisset’s Jenufa is dignified, earthy and powerfully sung.”
“Lee Bisset is a captivating Jenufa.”
“Bisset…putting body and soul in to her performance, has a generous, pliant voice and an ability to play high drama with cool naturalism. She showed her character’s confusion, pain, resignation and acceptance without ever overstating.”
“Lee Bisset’s Jenufa – stylishly sung and acted with refreshing honesty – made a sympathetic centerpiece, giving the Scottish soprano a deserved triumph on home territory.”
“The title role was sung by Scottish soprano Lee Bisset, her clear and forthright lyric instrument finding the stamina and range of colors needed to embody Janáček’s long-suffering heroine, whose plight, at its various stages, was charted with skill and imagination.
“Soprano Lee Bisset finds the weight and lyricism necessary for the title role, and proves a considered actor.”
“The music soars when Lee Bisset’s generous-voiced and warm-hearted Jenufa pours out her love for her baby and his feckless father, for her stepmother and, eventually, for the faithful Laca, sung by Peter Wedd, and rises heroically to her moral (and vocal) challenge.”
The Sunday Times
Katya Kabanova / Longborough Festival Opera
“Lee Bisset’s wonderful portrayal of Katya, meanwhile, should ensure her entrée into any opera house in the world where this work is being performed. Not since Elena Prokina in 1994 have I experienced the role performed with such overwhelming erotic ecstasy in the singing combined with dramatic intensity. Bisset’s tone is thrilling, accurate and colourfully varied in all registers.”
Minnie: La Fanciulla del West / Opera Omaha
“As played by dramatic soprano Lee Bisset of Scotland, Minnie was pretty hard for the audience to resist as well. Bisset’s soaring voice was mesmerizing as she sang of her desire to find a love like her parents had and her elation once she found it.”
“Scottish soprano Lee Bisset made her Opera Omaha debut with her vivacious, ardent Minnie. Bisset’s clear, vibrant voice managed Puccini’s broad ascending lines radiantly.”
Third Norn: Götterdämmerung / Opera North 2014
“The Norns and the three Rhinemaidens... were resplendent: I can't help singling out Lee Bisset’s phenomenal Third Norn.”
Isolde: Tristan und Isolde / Longborough Festival Opera
“Lee Bisset’s Isolde was quite exceptional. Lee Bisset has a voice born for Wagner, even if it is possibly a size too big for Longborough. She was totally believable in her emotional journey from the fury and rage over Tristan’s perceived deceit in Act I, through the ecstasy of Act II, to end with her Liebestod over Tristan’s dead body. Throughout she rode the orchestra with effortless power…”
Seen and Heard International
“Scottish soprano Lee Bisset was as good an Isolde as I have seen, showing us rich and unflagging vocals, a commanding stage presence, sensitive expression and acting, and (above all) seemingly endless stamina. This is a role that is beyond the reach of most sopranos, and I’m sure that if any casting professionals saw her tonight, she will be in demand to perform it all over the world.”
The Wagner Society
Sieglinde: Die Walküre / Longborough Festival Opera 2010
“Lee Bisset is revelatory, her rich and luminous sound ideally suited to Wagner and always compelling.“
“Bisset was a revelation, her mesmerising voice fired by a passion and vitality that were overwhelming.”
“The ‘star’ is the soprano Lee Bisset, whose Sieglinde was a characterisation of considerable power and lyric grace, the text clearly projected. Her ardour in the love music and her thrilling final delivery of the theme, not to be heard until the end of the last opera, were only two highlights of a notable interpretation.”
“Lee Bisset’s Sieglinde blossomed in her Act 2 Mad Scene.”
“Lee Bisset is a revelation as Sieglinde. Ardent in voice, as strong in her exultant final outburst as in her rapturous Act I love scene, she alone seems totally on top of her role’s vocal and dramatic challenges.”
“Bisset’s very attractive and slender Sieglinde is brilliantly sung.”
What’s On Stage
Sieglinde: Die Walküre / Longborough Festival Opera 2013
“…a beautifully poised Sieglinde in Lee Bissett (already a touching, interesting Freia in Rheingold).”
The Arts Desk
“Special mention goes to Lee Bisset, who didn’t just act the role of Sieglinde, nor just sing it (beautifully); she was Sieglinde brought to life.”
“Lee Bissett proved a complex and unforgettable Sieglinde, devastating in her final utterance of the ‘redemption’ theme.”
Sieglinde: Die Walküre / Opera North
“The singing was very fine but, as in Das Rheingold, one performance stood out. Lee Bisset’s Sieglinde was sublime, every emotion etched on her face and imparting a truly radiant “O hehrstes Wunder!” Her soprano has plenty of blade, yet retains incredible beauty, even at full tilt.”
“Lee Bisset, whose unforced vocal range and committed characterisation produced the most all-round compelling Sieglinde I have heard since the great Helga Dernesch.”
“Lee Bisset was an excellent Sieglinde, with a soprano that demonstrated a beautiful tone, even when her voice was at its most full and anguished. She also proved an extremely expressive actor…”
“Lee Bisset’s ravishing soprano blazed beautifully.”
“Lee Bisset was a passionate, eloquent Sieglinde…”
“Siegmund’s love for his sister-bride was palpable. And how could it not be, given so fine a performance as we heard from Lee Bisset? For me, she was the star of the show: no mere victim, but a woman with agency, however much circumstances - and bourgeois society -might have repressed her. I cannot instantly recall a more complete Sieglinde ‘in the flesh’, perhaps because I have not heard one.”
“…both looked the part and sang with searing passion…”
Seen and Heard International
“…her characterisation radiant and warmly felt.”
“Lee Bisset’s stunningly lyrical Sieglinde — a repressed woman set free, psychologically and sexually…”
Wagner Concert / Theatro São Pedro
“Lee Basset’s ability to move so rapidly from the supernaturally heightened emotion of Isolde to the subtle complexities of Kundry’s malevolence and guilt was very impressive.”