2013 Richard Tucker Award Recipient
Manager: Damon Bristo, Tim Fox
Management Territory: Worldwide
“The plush, animated mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard is a beguiling Cherubino, the count’s page, though, in this production, the character comes across as just an adolescent boy trying to look mature in a light three-piece suit in order to impress the older countess, whom he pines for. That this Cherubino is 100 percent hormones was palpable in Ms. Leonard’s singing of the breathless aria “Non so più,” in which the young man tells of being so swept up with longing for every woman he sees that he goes through each day trembling with elation and utter confusion.” Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, September 23, 2014 - Cherubino in 'Le nozze di Figaro' at Metropolitan Opera
“Leonard's darkly lustrous mezzo-soprano is ideal for the plum role of Rosina. The American singer commands the wide range, the coloratura agility and the striking physical beauty, charm and stage presence to make an audience take the heroine to its heart. Some singers overdo the character's calculation, but Leonard balanced sweet and saucy nicely. You really believed this Rosina when she explained, in her touchstone aria, "Una voce poco fa," that while she appears to be gentle and obedient, she will turn into a viper if necessary to get her way.” John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, February 2, 2014 - Rosina in 'Il barbiere di Siviglia' at Lyric Opera of Chicago
“Leonard, as Dorabella, sang with a magnetic charisma and a remarkable depth of tone, possessing springy agility in “Smanie implacabili” and a convincing sincerity in “Il core vi dono”, her duet with Rodion Pogossov’s Guglielmo. This was yet further confirmation, as if a winner of the Beverly Sills and Richard Tucker Awards needed it, of potential already being realized.” David Allen, Bachtrack, September 25, 2013 - Dorabella in 'Cosi fan tutte' at the Metropolitan Opera with James Levine
Highly acclaimed for her “passionate intensity and remarkable vocal beauty,” Isabel Leonard continues to thrill audiences both at home in the United States and internationally. She is the recipient of the prestigious 2013 Richard Tucker Award from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.
Isabel Leonard returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the 2014 – 2015 season for two of her most-beloved roles: Cherubino in the new Richard Eyre production of Le nozze di Figaro conducted by James Levine and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Ms. Leonard also returns to . . . the Vienna State Opera as Rosina and Bayerische Staatsoper in La Cenerentola, a role she will take to Washington National Opera for her debut. In concert, she makes her Italian debut in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Nicola Luisotti and returns to the San Francisco Symphony as Concepcion in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole under Charles Dutoit. Ms. Leonard also makes her Town Hall debut in New York City with the Collegiate Chorale in the title role of Handel’s Susanna. Isabel Leonard and Sharon Isbin will take their voice and guitar duo recital to the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, Emory University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the summer of 2015, she will return to Santa Fe Opera for the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain in the role of Ada Monroe.
In the 2013-2014 season, Isabel Leonard returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Dorabella in Così fan tutte under James Levine, which was also HD broadcast in the spring of 2014. Ms. Leonard made her highly-awaited debuts at the San Francisco Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, both as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. She also debuted at the Dallas Opera as Rosina. In concert, she appeared at the Tanglewood Festival singing the trio from Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier under the baton of Andris Nelsons and at the Aspen Music Festival in a duo recital with guitarist Sharon Isbin. She was seen alongside other opera luminaries at Carnegie Hall’s Marilyn Horne Song Celebration and with Nathan and Julie Gunn at the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
Metropolitan Opera audiences recently heard Ms. Leonard in two important role debuts during the 2012-2013 season: Miranda in Ades’s The Tempest and as Blanche in John Dexter’s ground-breaking production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. She also appeared in the English-version of The Barber of Seville which was broadcast internationally in HD. Last season also brought another important role and company debut as Sesto in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito at the Canadian Opera Company. In recital, Ms. Leonard was featured in her Zankel Hall recital debut at Carnegie Hall. She also appeared at the University of Notre Dame, Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, San Francisco Performances, and at Atlanta’s Spivey Hall to rave reviews. She debuted Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra under Edo de Waart and closed the season in Japan at the Saito Kinen Festival, where she performed the title role in L’enfant et les sortilèges and Concepcion in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole with Seiji Ozawa conducting.
In recent seasons, Ms. Leonard has appeared as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, all at the Metropolitan Opera; as Sesto in Laurent Pelly’s production of Giulio Cesare at Opéra National de Paris with Emmanuel Haim conducting and as Cherubino; the Glyndebourne Festival as Cherubino in the new Michael Grandage production of Le Nozze di Figaro; and the Vienna State Opera as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. She made a sensational role debut as Ruggiero in the new David Alden production of Handel’s Alcina at Opera National de Bordeaux and her interpretation of Costanza in the Peter Sellars production of Vivaldi’s Griselda at the Santa Fe Opera was met with the highest critical and audience acclaim.
Other notable engagements have included the title role in Offenbach’s La Périchole at Opéra National de Bordeaux, where she also made her European and professional stage debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Cherubino at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and Dorabella in a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Salzburg Festival directed by Claus Guth, which was telecast live internationally. Ms. Leonard made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette conducted by Plácido Domingo. This production was recorded for DVD release and broadcast live in HD. She has appeared as Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Colorado; in the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola at the Fort Worth Opera; as Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Chicago Opera Theater; as Cherubino in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera; and made her professional US opera debut as Stéphano in Atlanta Opera’s production of Roméo et Juliette.
Ms. Leonard made her New York Philharmonic debut in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges conducted by Lorin Maazel, and her American orchestral debut in The Three-Cornered Hat with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival under Gustavo Dudamel. Other concert engagements include Mozart’s “Ch’io mi scordi di te?” with the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, de Falla’s Siete canciones populares españolas with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Mozart’s Exultate, jubilate and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. with the St. Louis Symphony, Mozart’s Mass in C minor with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette under Valery Gergiev, both with the Chicago Symphony, Cherubino in a concert version of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, and Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette with James Conlon in her debut at the Cincinnati May Festival.
Ms. Leonard is in constant demand as a recitalist having made her first coast-to-coast recital tour in the 2007-08 season in Atlanta, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Fort Worth and ending with her Carnegie Hall debut at Weill Recital Hall. She has appeared as a guest soloist in the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s 75th Birthday Gala in Carnegie Hall and was featured in a solo recital as part of the Foundation’s On Wings of Song series in New York City. Ms. Leonard has also performed with soprano Barbara Bonney in recital at Alice Tully Hall presented by the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society.
Ms. Leonard is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards which include the Beverly Sills Award (2011), the Richard Gold Award of the Shoshana Foundation (2007), a Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Award (2006), the William Schuman Graduation Prize of the Juilliard School (2006), the Makiko Narumi Prize of the Juilliard School (2005), the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award of the Music Academy of the West (2005) and was a winner of the Giulio Gari Competition (2005).
Isabel Leonard is a native New Yorker and received both her Bachelor and Masters of Music at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Edith Bers. She has also studied with Marilyn Horne, Brian Zeger, Warren Jones, Margo Garrett, Denise Massé and Janine Reiss.
(Updated September 2014)
News & Critical Acclaim
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Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard collaborates with ...