Higgins performed in her first show when she was eight, and has pursued her musical goals ever since. She is joining HSOF as a soprano and is performing the role of “Giulietta” in The Tales of Hoffmann. Find out more about The Tales of Hoffmann here:
The 2019 festival
This year, HSOF welcomes over 50 performers from around the world, including many from Nova Scotia and the Maritimes, all of whom underwent competitive auditions. We are excited to introduce Leslie Higgins as a performer this summer!
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Q: When did you start studying voice? Where are you studying now?
A: “I began taking private lessons when I was in grade 3. I immediately began the Conservatory training, and took my first voice exam when I was in grade 4. Since then I have completed my grade 10 voice, and also my grade 8 piano. Although I always preferred singing to playing piano, I am incredibly grateful for the musical development I got through my many years of piano lessons. It taught me so many skills that I never would have developed just from singing, particularly theory and ear training. I am currently entering my fourth and final year at Western University studying with Rachel Mallon.“
Q: What has been your onstage experience or role that has been the most meaningful, exciting or successful for you? What do you long to do next?
A: “When I was in grade 10 I had the opportunity to perform in a very special musical called ‘Emily of New Moon’; based off the books by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Montgomery is a strong Canadian symbol in PEI, but she also spent time living in Leaskdale, a small town within the Uxbridge Township which is where I grew up. The show had only been performed a handful of times before it returned to my hometown, and I was chosen for the leading role. The director was very close to the writer and composer, and the whole show was a very special, personal and unique experience. Similar to most of Montgomery’s work, this show centers around a strong female lead. Getting to portray her and explore her character was life-changing. Not only did I grow as an actor, but I also learned so much about myself and what kind of performer I am. That experience was a very big milestone in my artistic development, and so much of my current work ties back to lessons I learned from that production.“
Q: What came first for you: theatre or music? Has your preference changed over time?
A: “I always loved to sing when I was a toddler, and I also loved to be the centre of attention. I was visually exposed to theatre first, as I would often watch my brother perform onstage. I can remember craving being on stage with him, but being too young to be in any of my towns productions. I began singing in choir a year before I did my first show, and absolutely loved both. I have always struggled defining which I prefer, and I considered pursuing musical theatre after high school, but my passion and drive for learning more about classical music was too strong to ignore, so I chose to pursue classical voice. I am incredibly grateful for my strong theatre background, however, as it allowed me to grow confidence and learn how to connect with a character and the audience.”