Lesley Garett: HRT has saved my voice for 20 years

Lesley Garett: HRT has saved my voice for 20 years


norman lebrecht

July 12, 2017

The British soprano tells the Daily Telegraph:

‘I have kept my technique in very good order because I have had singing lessons every week of my life for 40 years, but basically three letters – HRT.

‘It is the saviour of the soprano. I want you to put it in black and white, HRT is the most wonderful drug.

‘I’ve been taking it for 20 years because I had a very early menopause, six months after my daughter was born. I think she was probably my last egg. And I’m never going to come off it.’


  • Una says:

    How silly! Doesn’t work for every woman – or even for every soprano. And then the celebrity culture behind it.

    • AndrewB says:

      I agree that there is no ‘one approach fits all’ and I am sure the monitoring of regular lessons and exercises over a long career as a discipline helps to delay the effects of growing older on the voice.
      However I have just found / read an interesting study on line ‘ The impact of menopause and hormone therapy on voice and nasal resonance’ by E. D’haesleer, K. Van Lierde, and H. Depypere. This suggests , without making a categorical judgement, that there may be some evidence to back up Lesley Garrett’s view.
      It would be interesting for researchers to hear from singers who have had a less satisfactory experience with HRT I guess to take that into account.
      At the end of the day the problem remains that any study has to find a scientifically satisfactory way of assessing what are the effects of the menopause and which are the bi – products of HRT.

  • Wiebke Göetjes says:

    What is HRT?

  • Ungeheuer says:

    More importantly, who cares? After all, who remembers her singing or her work at all? Garrett is and has always been a British media creation but never ever an important singer in any way, shape or form.

    • Halldor says:

      An uninformed comment, with unpleasant overtones of xenophobia. Garrett was a central part of English National Opera’s ensemble during its “Powerhouse” years in the 1980s – a period whose influence is still being felt and whose long-term outcome can be seen in the new productions that ENO still exports around the world (most notably to the New York Met). Whether or not you like her “crossover” work, millions have. Her stage-presence compensates for the limitations of her voice – as with many fine operatic performers.

      More to the point, she has used a limited vocal range to skilful effect over a long career – most notably, in recent years, in the creation of the central role in Mark Simpson’s opera “Pleasure”, in which she gave a performance of compelling dramatic power, unsparing honesty, and turned the wear and tear on her voice (unsurprising at that age in any soprano) into an integral part of her characterisation. She’s a distinguished and highly credible artist. To say otherwise is simply uninformed (I don’t say snobbish).

      But maybe you saw that performance and disagree? Then by all means share your thoughts.

      • Bruce says:

        It’s disgraceful the number of people who are allowed to have careers without Ungeheuer’s approval.

        • Ungeheuer says:

          A crossover starlet fit for TV and Public Broadcasting. The less offensive and the more inconsequential the better. And you get crossed over that?

          • Halldor says:

            Under-rating an artist based solely on their public image is, if anything, even more stupid than over-rating them, since you’re laying claim to a superior judgment that (since you’ve very obviously never heard her perform live) you don’t actually possess.

            You daft ha’porth, as they say in Ms Garrett’s home county.

      • AndrewB says:

        You are right to defend Lesley Garrett in this way Halldor. May I add also made a very good job of Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine not so long ago, not to forget her past , successful appearances in Handel and Mozart opera.
        When she has tackled roles in musicals – Mother Superior ( Sound of Music) and Nettie Fowler( Carousel) she has done so with distinction too.
        I respect her because she has openly discussed having vocal problems as a young singer. She worked hard on sorting them out, maintaining her attractive timbre and has enjoyed a long career .
        I would say that some of the hyped up marketing around her early albums was perhaps too much and maybe did her a disservice – ‘ Britain’s Most Loved Soprano’ etc at a time when Valerie Masterson( who was adored by her public) was still singing for example. However that hype surely didn’t come from Miss Garrett. Her singing has given pleasure to many both inside and outside the opera world. She has more than proved herself to be a popular, serious and professional artist.

    • jennie says:

      You are obviously not a musician , let alone a singer

  • Gill says:

    It’s alarming how women react so differently to HRT. I was on to for five years and it gave me blood clots on my lungs which nearly killed my. Super pleased for Lesley and her story but it’s a lottery with that stuff.