Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano
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.
In the 2013–2014 season, Isabel Leonard returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Doraballa in Così fan tutte under James Levine, which was also an HD broadcast in the spring of 2014. Ms. Leonard makes 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 debuts at the Dallas Opera as Rosina. In concert, she will appear 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 U.S. 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 Exsultate, 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.