Duana Demus Leslie, hailed by critics as a “...physically striking singing/actress full of intelligence and beauty”, has been able to flourish with great success on concert and opera stages as well as in national and international competitions. She has performed leading roles and concerts with the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, Fresno Philharmonic, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Oakland Opera Theater, Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra, Stockton Symphony, Diablo Symphony, San Francisco Lyric Opera, Berkeley Opera, Opera Fresca, Martinez Opera, Townsend Opera Players, Mendocino Music Festival, Livermore Valley Opera and on the international television series “Hour of Power” with the Crystal Cathedral Orchestra and others. Her stage performances include leading soprano roles in Aida, Suor Angelica, Tosca, Un Ballo in Maschera, Il Tabarro, Il Trovatore, Porgy and Bess, Ragtime, The Life and Times of Malcolm X, Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, The Tenderland, Susannah, and Pirates of Penzance among others. Outside of opera and operetta she has performed world premiere compositions of sacred and secular music by living composers as well as jazz, oratorios, cantatas, recitals, and other large ensemble works.
She has had the honor of sharing the stage with opera stars, Ruth Ann Swenson (in recital), Placido Domingo, Simon Estes, Denyce Graves and others. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees from the University of California - Los Angeles as a full scholarship and stipend recipient and received her Bachelor of Arts in Music while on scholarship from California State University Stanislaus. She received Associate of Arts degrees in Liberal Arts and Music from Los Medanos College.
Dr. Demus Leslie is on the music faculty at Modesto Junior College and is owner of “La Bella Voce Voice Studio” in Modesto. She was honored to be a recipient of a 2010 MJC Foundation Mini-Grant Award for Faculty to learn more about the art of bel canto singing from international Russian masters Olga and Vladimir Chernov. She is featured in the inaugural issue of Venue magazine, 2011, as a distinguished alumna of CSU Stanislaus and currently resides in Modesto with her husband Joshua and infant daughter Sophia.