Winner of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions in the San Francisco District, Ellen Leslie is quickly becoming a sought-after singer both in the United States and abroad. Critics have lauded her “absolutely beautiful” (Opus Colorado), "bright, clear" (The Berkeley Daily Planet) and "radiant...lovely trilling soprano" (San Jose Mercury News), and her "sweet, strong tone and earnest demeanor" (San Francisco Classical Voice).
Currently, as a resident Young Artist with Opera Saratoga for the 2018 summer season, Ellen sings roles in The Consul, The Merry Widow, the American premiere of Rocking Horse Winner and the world premiere of Vinkensport. Upcoming engagements for the 2018-19 season include a European tour as the soprano soloist in Brahms' Requiem, Adina in San Francisco Opera's outreach production of L'Elisir d'amore, and Jane Bennet in the world premiere of Kirk Mechem's Pride & Prejudice.
In 2017, Ellen made her German stage debut as Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) in Schloss Merode, and as Rosane (Vivaldi La verità in cimento) in Leipzig. Recent engagements in the Bay Area include Micaëla (Carmen) and Lady Billows (Albert Herring) at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Damigella and Amore (L'Incoronazione di Poppea) with the SFCM Baroque Ensemble, covering the role of Elisabetta (Roberto Devereux) with Pocket Opera, an evening of Vivaldi and Handel cantatas, a horn collaboration featuring Schubert's epic Auf dem Strom, and two full solo recitals. A skilled interpreter of the lyric soprano roles in the Gilbert & Sullivan canon, Ellen has most recently sung Josephine (HMS Pinafore) and the title role in Patience with San Francisco's acclaimed Lamplighters Music Theatre.
A lover of new music in all forms, Ellen sang in the 2015 and 2016 workshops for Santa Fe Opera's 2017 production of The (r)Evolution of Steve Jobs, with music by Mason Bates and conducted by Michael Christie. She has also premiered songs and opera roles by several emerging Bay Area composers, and received a grant to commission a full song cycle, "Charmes," by Eric Choate, which premiered in 2015.
Having made her oratorio debut at age 19 as the soprano solo in Carmina Burana with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra, Ellen is also an accomplished choral and orchestral soloist. Since the 2012-2013 season, she has had the annual privilege of singing with the Colorado Ballet in their production of The Nutcracker. Recent engagements also have included Porgy and Bess in Concert (2012) and a Fourth of July extravaganza (2014) with the Dallas Symphony, and The Planets (2013) with the New York Philharmonic, all at the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. She also sang backup for Josh Groban in his 2013 performance with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra at Red Rocks Ampitheatre.
Ellen grew up on an Irwin 37 sailboat in the San Francisco Bay and spent her childhood sailing around the world with her family. She earned concurrent undergraduate degrees from the University of Denver--a BM in Voice Performance and a BA in French, both summa cum laude. She returned to California to for her MM at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under acclaimed soprano Sylvia Anderson.
In 2016, Ellen split her time between San Francisco and Leipzig, Germany, where she completed her studies with soprano Caroline Stein on full scholarship at the Hochschule für Musik "Feliz Mendelssohn Bartholdy," earning a Postgraduate Diploma in Voice in conjunction with SFCM. She has also lived in Strasbourg, France, where she researched a thesis on the sociopolitical climate surrounding Bizet’s Carmen; there, she was invited to sing Michael Tippett's A Child of our Time with conductor Carlo Rizzi and the Orchèstre Philharmonique de Strasbourg.
Ellen lives in San Francisco with her husband, composer/conductor Eric Choate, and studies with Sheri Greenawald.
Last updated 17 June 2018