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One of the most popular performers in contemporary British opera, soprano Lesley Garrett was born in Yorkshire, England on April 10, 1955; after attending her first opera at age 15, she dedicated her life to singing, and was later awarded a scholarship to London's Royal Academy of Music. In 1979 she won top prize at the Kathleen Ferrier Competition, and following her first major performance as Dorinda in Handel's Orlando she earned roles with Opera North and the English National Opera; although Garrett's career was temporarily derailed by illness, she returned to the stage in 1983, and a year later was named the ENO's principal soprano. Her major roles included Atalanta in Handel's Xerxes, Yum-Yum in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, Papagana in Mozart's Magic Flute, Esmerelda in Smetana's The Bartered Bride and Vivette in La Belle Vivette. additionally, Garrett recorded a series of LPs, including 1992's Diva! A Soprano at the Movies, 1994's Simple Gifts, 1996's Soprano in Hollywood and 1998's A Soprano Inspired.