“Lester's tonal variety was particularly impressive, imbuing Nerone with complexity. ”  Early Music Today

"...a stunning, velvety voice that revelled in Bellini's sweeping melodies." Fringe Opera

CN Lester is a mezzo-soprano, a researcher, and a composer. 

As an operatic soloist and recitalist they’ve worked with Snape Maltings, Glass Ceiling Opera, Tete a Tete Festival, Hampstead Garden Opera, Barbican, National Theatre Studios, the British Library, Hanbury & Groves, Silent Opera and ENO Mini Operas. Performances and discussions of original research on BBC Radio 3 & 4. Upcoming projects include Grimeborn Opera Festival and Brighton Early Music.

With soprano Sarah Dacey, guitarist/lutenist Toby Carr, and harpist Aileen Henry they perform as Ursula’s Arrow – an early music ensemble devoted to promoting the works of women composers, funded by Arts Council England. Ursula's Arrow have most recently performed for the United Nation's He4She campaign, and are currently in development for 2020 and beyond.

Ursula's Arrow by Raphael Neal

They collaborate frequently with composers Alex Groves, James Cave, and Timothy Thornton, and have a particular interest in interactive and one-on-one works.


"Coupled with CN Lester's glowing composition - poised somewhere between disquiet and transcendence, a different tone for each attempt at resolution - the effect is both beautiful and humbling, which is only enhanced by the directness of Stephen's photographed gaze." Sabotage Reviews

CN studied composition with Jonathan Cole and Silvina Milstein. Their first opera, The Lion-Faced Man, for static image, mezzo-soprano and piano trio, was premiered at the 2015 Tete a Tete Festival. 

CN is a performance and performance practice doctoral student at MuGI, University of Huddersfield, focusing on questions of gender and reception in composition and performance, particularly in relation to the works and reception of Barbara Strozzi. They received their BMus from Kings College London, their MMus from Goldsmiths, and is a student of Alison Wells.

"CN's charismatic performance captured the drama of these pieces perfectly. The vocal talent was unquestionable." Gay Times