Lee Bisset grew up in Inverbeg, Loch Lomond, where her parents, Jack and Jennifer Bisset owned and managed the Inverbeg Inn. Along with her two brothers she attended Lomond School.
She took a BMUS at the former RSAMD in Glasgow (now the Royal Scottish Conservatoire) as a mezzo soprano, but on graduation was advised not to continue as a singer. Giving herself a last chance, she moved to Rimini, Italy, to study with baritone Romolo Castiglioni, with whom she made the transition from light mezzo to spinto soprano. Castiglioni turned her voice around, a three month stay became three years, and in this time she also sang in masterclasses given by Renata Scotto, Magda Oliviero and Luciano Pavarotti.
She returned to the UK to study with Peter Wilson, from Paisley, at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she was given a Dame Eva Turner Award, and won the Webster Booth Competition. She made her professional debut singing Tatyana in Eugene Onegin for Clonter Opera. From the RNCM she went on to the National Opera Studio, where she was sponsored by English National Opera. In 2005 she represented Scotland at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.
She was a member of the Young Singers' Program at ENO for 2 years, where she debuted as First Lady in The Magic Flute, and amongst other roles, sang Mimì in La Bohème.
She has sung principal roles for, amongst others, Scottish Opera, Northern Ireland Opera, Longborough Festival Opera, Grange Park Opera and Opera North; and sung recitals or concerts in all the major UK concert venues including the Royal Albert Hall, St. John’s Smith Square and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.
Her break onto the international circuit, came, most unexpectedly for her, through Wagner. Having thought of herself as a Verdi and Puccini singer, she received outstanding critical acclaim for her portrayal of Sieglinde, the abused wife who falls in love with her twin brother in Wagner’s Die Walküre, at Longborough Festival Opera. Last season she made both her North and South American debuts, singing the title role in Tosca for Opera Memphis in the USA and Sieglinde, Die Walküre for the Sao Paulo Opera Theatre, Brazil; and most recently sang New Year Concerts with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
In 2013, Wagner’s bi-centenary she sings Freia Das Rheingold, Sieglinde Die Walküre, Gutrune Götterdämmerung, and Senta Der Fliegende Holländer, as well as in an operetta parody of Götterdämmerung, Die Lustige Niebelungen. Future projects include Minnie La fanciulla del west, and the title roles in Janáček’s Jenůfa and Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.
Asked for her favourite role to sing, she will sit on the fence somewhere between Mozart, Wagner, Verdi and Puccini, or mumble something about it being whichever role she is studying at the time; but when really pushed she may concede that she holds a special place in her heart for Káťa in Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová.
She lives in East Sussex with her partner, the conductor David Angus and a red, long-haired miniature dachshund called Griffin.