The French-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre studied with Sara Mingardo in Venice and in 2015 was selected to join William Christie’s academy Le Jardin des Voix. She was named ‘Révélation Lyrique’ at the 2017 Victoires de la Musique Classique. She has also trained professionally as a ballet dancer.
In 2021 she made an acclaimed role debut at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro). Since then, she has sung this role at the Paris Opéra, the Zurich Opera House, the Liceu in Barcelona and the Opéra de Lausanne.
In 2017, Lea Desandre made her debut in the title role of Marais’ Alcione at the Opéra Comique in Paris, where she returned in 2018 for the staged solo performance Et in Arcadia ego, with music by Rameau, and as Amour in Berlioz’s adaptation of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice. Following her Salzburg Festival debut in Offenbach’s La Périchole at the 2018 Whitsun Festival, she has returned to perform Amore and Valletto (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Vénus (Orphée aux enfers) and Despina (Così fan tutte), in several concerts, and in a 2022 recital of Baroque music with the Jupiter Ensemble.
Other past engagements include Flerida in Cavalli’s Erismena in Aix-en-Provence, Urbain (Les Huguenots) at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Idamante (Idomeneo) at the Berlin State Opera, Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia) in Rouen and Messaggera (L’Orfeo) at the Harris Theater in Chicago.
Concert appearances and recitals have taken her to Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Vienna Musikverein, the Berlin State Opera, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and the Philharmonie de Paris, the Opéra National de Bordeaux, the Opéra Royal de Versailles, the International Mozarteum Foundation in Salzburg, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Sydney Opera House, the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and the Shanghai Symphony Hall.
Lea Desandre has worked with conductors such as Gustavo Dudamel, John Eliot Gardiner, Myung-Whun Chung, Enrique Mazzola, William Christie, Manfred Honeck, Marc Minkowski, Joana Mallwitz, Raphaël Pichon, Jordi Savall, Emmanuelle Haïm, Laurence Equilbey and Christophe Rousset.
Her first solo album Amazone, with the Jupiter Ensemble and Thomas Dunford, was named ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone magazine. Her second album Eternal Heaven, with Iestyn Davies and the Jupiter Ensemble, was released in 2022. A new album with Thomas Dunford is planned for autumn 2023.
Lea Desandre’s engagements in the 2023/24 season will include the title role in Ariodante on a European tour under Christie, Idamante in Geneva, the title role in Charpentier’s Médée at the Paris Opéra and Timna in Rameau’s Samson and Annio (La clemenza di Tito) at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, along with numerous concerts.