»The dramatic potential this graceful singer
showed, both vocally as well as in her acting,
was astounding and touched the heart…
Her singing truly comes from the soul.«
Der Opernfreund


The year 2020 has rearranged the opera world. Soprano Lea-ann Dunbar’s planned perfomances in the new production of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Bayreuther Festspiele have been postponed until 2022. In early 2021 she was to have sung the role of Woglinde in a RING production with Christian Thielemann at the Semperoper Dresden. That production has now been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Lea-ann developed a fascination for singing at a young age, later pursuing her formal studies at St. Olaf College and then at the Musikhochschule Lübeck. While a student, her first ventures into operatic performing were as Cunegonde in Candide and as Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte. The offer of a full-time contract to sing a variety of major roles with the opera company in Hildesheim quickly propelled her into professional theater. Following her successful debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, further roles included Amalia in I Masnadieri, Marzelline in Fidelio, Suzel in L’amico Fritz, and Female Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia.

The ensemble at Theater Krefeld-Mönchengladbach was Lea-ann’s next professional home where a full schedule of leading ladies gave her the opportunity to further develop her voice and her acting. She was nominated as “Young Singer of the Year” in Germany’s leading opera magazine, OPERNWELT, for her touching portrayal of Mimi in La Boheme. Her repertoire expanded to include Tatjana in Eugen Onegin, Agathe in Der Freischütz, Asteria in Tamerlano, Pamina and First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, and the title role in Maria Stuarda. A highlight of these years was her role debut as Lucia di Lammermoor, about which the magazine OPERNGLAS wrote: “Opening night would have been “perfectly normal” had it not been for Lea-ann Dunbar… Her performance was fascinating in its delicate fragility and enthralling in its vocal virtuosity, leaving the listener absolutely speechless.”

After several years as an ensemble member, Lea-ann chose the freedom of working as a freelance artist. Her overwhelming success as Lucia continued with productions in Innsbruck, Mainz, and Augsburg. For multiple seasons Lea-ann was a regular guest with the opera company in Lübeck, where she was celebrated by the press and audiences alike for her portrayals of Violetta in La Traviata, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and the title role in Massenet’s Thais. Performances as Donna Anna took her to the Komische Oper Berlin as well as the theaters in Chemnitz and Augsburg. She returned to the Staatstheater Augsburg as Najade in a production of Ariadne auf Naxos.

In addition to her theater work, Lea-ann is regularly in demand on the concert stage in works ranging from Mozart’s Requiem and Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder to Lili Boulanger’s Clairières dans le ciel. Parallel to her professional career, she has continued to refine her artistry by studying with teachers including Margreet Honig and the late Mirella Freni. Lea-ann currently works regularly with voice performance coach Kirsten Schötteldreier.

Throughout her work as a performing artist, Lea-ann continually strives for honesty and emotional depth in her singing. The simple intimacy of Agathe in Freischütz is as much a part of her dramatic spectrum as is the ecstasy and fragility of Violetta or the otherworldliness of Lucia. Lea-ann attempts to uncover the human essence of opera’s larger-than-life figures, immersing herself in roles with unconditional commitment. Critics repeatedly note her warm sound, effortless technique, and convincing role portrayals.

Portrait photos: Simon Pauly
Stage photos:
Rupert Larl, Olaf Malzahn, Lutz Roessler, Matthias Stutte


Thais / Theater Lübeck
Das Opernglas

Lea-ann Dunbar was an exceptional Thais. Her acting made the transition from narcissistic courtesan to chaste nun utterly convincing. Her singing on opening night left absolutely nothing to be desired: the timbre of her strong, creamy upper register is somewhat reminiscent of Renée Fleming's sound. Her voice carried effortlessly over all the tutti, presented well supported pianissimi again and again, while still having powerful reserves for the exhausting final duet with Athanael.

Der Opernfreund

The singer of the title role, Lea-ann Dunbar, was anxiously awaited after her enthralling Violetta in Lübeck. The intensity of her acting made the transition from whore to saint believable. The high tessitura of the role was perfect for her voice and her singing sounded effortless. The audience presented her with ovations for an exhilarating performance!

Online Musik Magazin

The star of the evening was Lea-ann Dunbar, who filled the title role with wonderfully lyric phrases and whose voice cut through even the thickest orchestration without problem.

Britten War Requiem / Lübeck Marienkirche
Lübecker Nachrichten

The American soprano Lea-ann Dunbar also emphasized the music's international language and message of peace. Her male colleagues were very good; she, however, was outstanding. Her voice was creamy and warm all the way to high C, and it filled the enormous church with an immense radiance and musical depth to the farthest corners.

La Traviata / Theater Lübeck
Der Neue Merker

Lea-ann Dunbar as Violetty Valery…Her powerful voice mastered the difficulties of this role with seeming effortlessness. Her expressive acting was profoundly moving.

Kieler Nachrichten

Lea-ann Dunbar has all the necessary vocal qualities at her disposal for the role of Violetta: a strong upper register, secure coloratura, and a delicate piano.

Schleswig-Holstein Zeitung

…the cast is simply to die for….But no one delved so deeply into emotions as Lea-ann Dunbar whose bell-like voice developed the greatest strength in Violetta's most difficult moments.

Lucia di Lammermoor / Theater Krefeld-Mönchengladbach
Das Opernglas

Opening night would have been "perfectly normal" had it not been for Lea-ann Dunbar in the title role. Her performance was fascinating in its delicate fragility and enthralling in its vocal virtuosity, leaving the listener absolutely speechless. The young American used the artificialness of the role "Lucia"….as a natural means of expressing emotion. Instead of simply presenting a well-rounded, flexible vocal technique, she explored love and insanity, sorrow and despair with a wide range of colors in her well-focused, warm soprano voice. This she did so perfectly that the audience justifiably lay at her feet.

Der Opernfreund

The star of the evening was Lea-ann Dunbar as Lucia. The dramatic potential this graceful singer showed, both vocally as well as in her acting, was astounding and touched the heart…Her singing truly came from the soul and her voice carried effortlessly to the last row.

Rheinische Post

Dunbar can claim a voice her own that is sparkling and sturdy up through dizzying heights, a voice completely dependable through to the end of the opera despite the almost unreasonable demands of the murderous role. Her two famous arias…were the highlights of the evening. Furthermore, she created a figure that was believable not only in her passionate love for Edgardo but also in her madness to which she was driven by her brother Enrico.

La Bohème / Theater Krefeld-Mönchengladbach
Der Neue Merker

Lea-ann Dunbar was a beguilingly evocative Mimi…She not only filled the shell of the ailing figure with tenderness and warmth, but also showed the extreme fragility of this sick woman. Her interpretation of "Mi chiamano Mimi..:", soaring from fragile to heroic, was brilliant and deeply moving. The critic was not the only one with tears in his eyes.

I Masnadieri / Theater Hildesheim
Klassik Heute

Listening to Lea-ann Dunbar's bubbling coloratura and brilliant high notes, one can't help but think of the "Swedish Nightingale" Jenny Lind, for whom Verdi wrote the role of Amalia.


Benjamin Britten War Requiem (excerpts)

“Lacrimosa / Sanctus / Benedictus / Libera me”

Georges Bizet Carmen

“Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante”

Adolphe Adam

“Cantique de Noël / O Holy Night”

Gustav Mahler Des Knaben Wunderhorn

“Wer hat dies Leidlein erdacht”


Johannes Brahms “Verzagen” Op. 72/4


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Zittelstraße 8
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