Lesley Garrett, CBEis an English soprano singer, musician, broadcaster and media personality. She is noted for being at home in opera and "crossover music"...
That was when I realised that music is the most profound, magical form of communication there is.
Nobody inspired me more than Julie Andrews, who is a classically trained soprano herself.
I do hope that our spring will be starting shortly and we will all be able to enjoy some sunshine again.
To tell you the truth, I never listen to opera at home.
I performed in Sydney some years ago for the Sydney Festival and I am just so pleased to be returning to the wonderful Sydney Opera House and also performing in Melbourne for the first time.
Music is there to access those dark emotional corners that we don't normally get too close to.
I don't think I have ever met a single person who isn't moved by music of some kind.
I saw The Sound of Music when I was 10 and thought that it was the most beautiful singing I had ever heard.
I would just like to say that opera is no longer about fat people in breastplates shattering wine glasses.
Opera is credible drama now, and it costs less than going to a football match. What have you got to lose?
The musical heritage of Yorkshire is deep and wide.
It worries me that young singers think you can shortcut the training and go straight to fame and fortune, and programmes like Pop Idol have encouraged that.
I'm engaging my diaphragm as I'm speaking to you right now.
Singing is an arduous business and it needs sacrifices.
There are a lot of unseen elements to having a successful singing career.
I wouldn't want to criticise someone like Charlotte Church because she has done fantastically well, but personally I've always cared about the long term.
What people really should be able to be confident in is that the standards of music- making that classically trained musicians present is elite, it is the best and all of us as artists should be committed to that.
And woven into the fabric of this harsh existence was music.
I don't just come from a musical family, but from a musical community.
I'm very pro presenting the best music I can to the widest audience possible.
As far as I was concerned the important thing was that the music was getting the attention as well as me so it was always a great way to get more of the public to connect with classical music, and opera particularly.
One of the problems that we face through the media attention that these artists receive is that there has been an awful lot of talk about opera and classical music being elite and being for an elitist group.
What's real is your ability to sing, your ability to entertain the public, your goals to be the best artist you can.
I credit him with getting me started in television,
I love being blown away by something bigger than myself, like a ship on a stormy sea, and Peter Grimes does that.
Just walking along Shaftesbury Avenue gave me such a buzz - it still does - and communicating with an audience through music is still the biggest thrill in the world.
Last autumn I made a programme about the history of the Strauss family and of the waltz, which involved a trip to the beautiful city of Vienna.
I still have singing lessons every week twice weekly with the same singing teacher I had at the Royal Academy of Music.
Whichever route they choose as long as they're doing it seriously and looking after their voices and training then they'll be fine.
Seeing that made me understand how profound the drama of opera was and how music theatre is the most powerful audiovisual form there is.
You've got to very much be part of today's society and you've got to use 21st Century techniques to draw attention to what you believe in.
It was really lovely to find another way to express music. I found that singing and dancing have such a lot in common.
So between my mother playing two-part inventions by Bach on the piano and my dad singing Ivor Novello, I became what I am today.
But you mustn't get seduced by the kind of fame that comes with media attention.
The community that underpinned my upbringing was born from the pits and the steelworks and the railways.
My mum used to say to me, 'Spit on yer 'ands and take a fresh 'old.' Keep going even if you have setbacks.
I also have to support my speaking voice by sitting in a way that engages the diaphragm in the way I would for singing.
I do a lot of vocal hygiene.