Soprano Lea-ann Dunbar studied voice at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, USA and at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck, Germany. Gathering performing experience while still a student, her first appearances on the opera stage were as Cunegonde in Bernstein's Candide and Fiordiligi in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. A master class with Mirella Freni was an important addition to her vocal studies.
She made her professional debut as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) with the opera company in Hildesheim. As a member of the ensemble there she also sang Amalia (I masnadieri), Female Chorus (Rape of Lucretia), Marzelline (Fidelio), and Suzel (L’amico Fritz). She then joined the ensemble at the Theater Krefeld-Mönchengladbach where she debuted as Tatjana (Eugen Onegin). With the vocal ability to sing both coloratura and lyric roles, she gained a broad repertoire in five seasons with the company. In addition to her acclaimed debut as Lucia di Lammermoor and her portrayal of Mimi (La Bohème), for which she was nominated as “Young Singer of the Year” in Germany’s leading magazine Opernwelt, she sang the title role in Maria Stuarda, Agathe (Freischütz), Asteria (Tamerlano), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). She also sang the role of Maria Mandel in the world premiere of Stefan Heucke’s “Das Frauenorchester von Ausschwitz.”
Now a freelance artist, Lea-ann Dunbar has been a guest with opera companies in Augsburg, Chemnitz, Innsbruck, Koblenz, Mainz, Pforzheim, and Wiesbaden. On short notice she took over the role of Elisabeth Nietzsche for the world premiere of Franz Hummel’s “Zarathustra” at the Theater Regensburg. After her successful debut as Violetta (La Traviata) at the Theater Lübeck, she returned there to sing Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) and the title role in Massenet’s Thaïs.
Concert and song repertoire also play an important role in her work as a singer. Oratorios ranging from Bach to Britten are as much a part of her repertoire as Mahler’s 4th Symphony or songs by Lili Boulanger. Critics repeatedly comment on her powerful voice, brilliant coloratura, her luxurious timbre, and her passionate acting.
In 2020 Lea-ann Dunbar will make her debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Rhinemaiden Woglinde in Wagner's “Der Ring des Niebelungen.”