The 5-Minute Interview: Lesley Garrett, Soprano singer

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The Independent Online

Lesley Garrett, 51, who is currently starring as Mother Abbess in 'The Sound of Music', has a new album, 'When I Fall in Love', out on Universal on Monday.

My new album is...

A celebration of the love I have for those most close to me. All the different kinds of love make life so meaningful.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Answering fan mail. And entertaining my nuns. The nuns of Nonnberg Abbey do make a habit of repairing to the Mother Abbess's room for a natter.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Kindness, especially since I've been doing The Sound of Music - the company here are extraordinarily supportive of one another. It's made me appreciate kindness and look for it more than I used to.

The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was...

Meeting my husband, Peter, and having two children in very quick succession. I was 35 and I'd auditioned the world. I thought I was destined to be alone. We were on a blind date just before Christmas 1989. I was performing in Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges and to this day he says: "I thought I was going to an opera, then my wife stepped out of an orange."

A common misperception of me is...

That I am very big. Whenever anyone meets me for the first time, they always say "Gosh, aren't you little!" I'm 5ft 4in and a size eight to 10. Most people expect opera singers to be enormous. We're not.

I'm not a politician but...

I'd love to be. I'm fascinated by politics. I think politicians are very much like opera singers. They're people with enormous egos trying to make more noise than one another.

I'm good at...

Delegating, wallpapering, getting people to talk, cheering people up and entertaining.

But I'm very bad at...

I'm often accused of over-caring and over-mothering. I could be called Smother Abbess.

The ideal night out...

Would encompass all my favourite things. I'd start early with tea at the Ritz, cocktails after, any theatre or concert at the South Bank, then supper somewhere lovely - Sheekeys or The Ivy or Two Bridges, then dancing, preferably at the Rivoli Ballroom in south London, then float back for breakfast.

In moments of weakness I...

Eat chocolate. Doesn't every woman?

You know me as a soprano, but in a truer life I'd...

Love to have been a ballroom dancer. I had such a good time on Strictly Come Dancing.

The best age to be is...

Now, whatever that is, because it's the only age there is so what's the point in wishing for anything else.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Never stop growing and do it with a smile.

Elisa Bray

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