I started singing when I was 17, although my mother says I began in my crib whenever she had the Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts on the radio! I keep returning to "Carlotta" because it is such a challenging and rewarding role. I am never bored trying to keep it "fresh" vocally and dramatically every night. I have also been fortunate enough to work with some very fine performers over the years, many of whom have become good friends. What a joy to look forward to going to work every day with good friends in a creatively rewarding environment! I also have been lucky to have understanding producers who have allowed me to take many opera breaks over the years. Perhaps to keep my performances more authentic?! I am afraid to admit that I find myself bringing more angst to the role as the years go by...in that I am now "Prima Donna" emeritus! As I get older, I really appreciate Ms. Giudicelli's predicament and empathize with the dear soul. My favorite role was "Magda" in La Rondine by Puccini, with my second favorite being "Violetta" in La Traviata by Verdi. Interestingly, they were both very much the same character as seen by the different composers.
LEIGH MUNRO (Carlotta Giudicelli), a native of Pennsylvania, has been a leading soprano with New York City Opera for many years, appearing in principal roles including Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Cunegonde in Candide, both directed by Hal Prince; Marianne in New Moon; Yum-Yum in The Mikado; Marian in The Music Man and, most recently, in the title role of Blitzstein's Regina. Miss Munro has been a frequent guest of the opera companies of Calgary, Winnipeg and Hamilton. She portrayed Hanna in The Merry Widow for the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto and debuted with L'Opera Montreal as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. On TV, Miss Munro has been seen on "Live from Lincoln Center" as Magda in "La Rondine" and as Kathy in "The Student Prince." On PBS's "Great Performances," she played Marianne in "The New Moon" for New York City Opera. She appeared on CBC Television as Gilda in "Rigoletto" and was featured in a broadcast of "Elixir of Love." Following her engagement as Carlotta in Phantom with the Toronto company and four and a half years in the Los Angeles production with Michael Crawford, Leigh played the same role in the show's tour of Singapore and Hong Kong, and then appeared in the production in Basel, Switzerland.
Leigh Munro is a native of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, Ms. Munro has been a leading soprano with the New York City Opera for eleven years, where she has appeared with that company in principal roles from musical theatre, including Joanna in Sweeny Todd and Cunegonde in Candide both directed by Hal Prince, as well as Marianne in New Moon, Yum-Yum in The Mikado and Marian in The Music Man. She recently appeared there to great critical acclaim as Regina in Blitzstein's opera of the same name in a major revival. While in Canada, Ms. Munro is a frequent guest of the opera companies of Calgary, Winnipeg and Hamilton. Recently, she portrayed Hanna in The Merry Widow in her debut with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, and last spring, she debuted with L'Opéra Montréal as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. On television, Ms. Munro has been seen on "Live From Lincoln Theatre" in telecasts as Magda in La Rondine and as Kathy in Student Prince. On the PBS "Great Performances" series, she portrayed the role of Marianne in The New Moon for the New York City Opera broadcast from Wolf Trap Farms, Virginia. She has appeared on CBC television as Gilda in Rigoletto with the Hamilton Opera in a telecast with Louis Quilico, and was also featured in a CBC broadcast of Elixir of Love from Winnipeg, Canada. Prior to her engagement last winter with the Toronto company of Phantom, she completed four and a half years in the record breaking Los Angeles production of the same show with Michael Crawford. In Europe, Ms. Munro has appeared with the opera companies of Paris and Israel. Also in 1987, she had the pleasure of opening the Taiwan Performing Arts Center in Taipei with her interpretation of the role of Violetta in La Traviata.
The basic structure of my role hasn't changed much over the years - the stage blocking, costumes, etc. I have found many new nuances to this colorful character however. As an actor, one never "stands still" but continues to understand and unlock every facet of a part. This is what keeps the performer and the audience enriched.
..the bottom line is we (Phantom of the Opera in Basel, Switzerland) close July 27th. I have no immediate plans but to rest and to do some traveling over here. I've been working constantly since '89- and I'm desperatly in need of time off!
I had asked Kim Stengel about what it was like working with Leigh and this is her reply..It was so nice I decided to add it to Leigh's page.
I could never say enough great things about her. She is one of the loveliest, kind, funny, generous, talented women I have ever had the priveledge to work with. She is a great lady who sets a wonderful stadard of grace and professionalism in the industry. I learned from her talents and her strength as a woman. She did much for me as an artist as well as a human being. I miss her, she will always be a friend and one of my favorite people.