French-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre was 20 when she was awarded a place to study at William Christie’s Academy, Le Jardin des Voix. In 2017 she was named Vocal Discovery of the Year at the Victoires de la Musique Classique Awards in Paris. She studied with Sara Mingardo in Venice and can also look back on a 12-year period of training as a ballet dancer.
Since 2015 Lea Desandre has been acclaimed in various roles, including Urbain (Les Huguenots), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Annio (La clemenza di Tito), Sesto (Giulio Cesare), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Messaggera (L’Orfeo), Flerida in Cavalli’s Erismena and the title role in Marais’ Alcione. She made her Salzburg Festival debut at Whitsun 2018 in Offenbach’s La Périchole under Marc Minkowski, returning that same summer as Amore and Valletto in L’incoronazione di Poppea under Christie and at Whitsun 2019 for Caldara’s oratorio La morte d’Abel and for a gala concert, Farinelli & Friends, with Cecilia Bartoli. In the summer of 2019 she was heard as Vénus in Orphée aux enfers, and in the summer of 2020 she sang Despina (Così fan tutte) under Joana Mallwitz. In November 2020 she appeared in Hippolyte et Aricie at the Opéra Comique in Paris. After her appearance in a concert performance of La clemenza di Tito at the 2021 Salzburg Whitsun Festival, she will be returning to the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in June as Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro).
In 2018 Lea Desandre delighted her audiences at the Opéra Comique in a fully-staged one-woman show, Et in Arcadia ego, with music by Rameau. Concert appearances and song recitals have taken her to London’s Wigmore Hall, the Vienna Musikverein, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Philharmonie de Paris, the Opéra National de Bordeaux, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Sydney Opera House, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and Shanghai Symphony Hall. As a committed chamber recitalist she also appears regularly with the lutenist Thomas Dunford and his Ensemble Jupiter. In addition to the above-mentioned conductors, she has also worked with John Eliot Gardiner, Louis Langrée, Raphaël Pichon, Jordi Savall, Emmanuelle Haïm and Leonardo García Alarcón.
Lea Desandre’s CDs include Barricades with Jean Rondeau, Vivaldi with the Jupiter ensemble, Handel: Italian Cantatas with Sabine Devieilhe, Berenice, che fai? with Opera Fuoco and Cities with Thibault Cauvin. To mark the release of her first solo album, Amazones, by Erato, she will embark on a concert tour with the Ensemble Jupiter that will include performances at the Philharmonie de Paris, the Berlin Philharmonie and London’s Wigmore Hall.