“Isabel Leonard is one of the leading mezzo-sopranos on the Met’s stage, and the feisty maiden Rosina is her signature role . . . it was such a natural fit to begin with that her interpretation remains a joy to hear, even in this pared-down version. Leonard’s “Una voce poco fa” (“In my heart I hear his voice”) was simply lovely, showing a blooming tone with plenty of cushion but still precisely focused, complemented by a tittering coloratura.”
Eric C. Simpson – New York Classical Review
“. . . the evening’s star, the well-established and highly valued Isabel Leonard . . .”
James R. Oestreich – The New York Times
” . . . (the) production still revolves around mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, who plays Rosina, a stowaway who’s in love with a young man who she thinks is a poor itinerant troubadour.
Ms. Leonard, who starred in the title role of the Washington National Opera’s production of Cinderella earlier this year and who sang Rosina last year at the Met in the full Italian original of Barber, has a knack for a lift of the eyebrow or lean of the body to give her co-stars easy set-ups for comedic business. The force of Rosina’s sly shyness combined with devilish determination to outwit her evil master, Dr. Bartolo, comes out equally well in both languages.
The wonder of The Barber of Seville is that it requires as much in the way of vocal acrobatics as any dramatic or otherworldly bel canto opera, and the step-by-step gradations of Ms. Leonard’s coloratura as Rosina are remarkably even and precise. It’s also a nice lesson for kids who want to sing seriously that not every girl has to call herself a soprano to be a star, even if Ms. Leonard did readily take in a high C at one point (whether interpolated in the score or original to it).”
David Rohde – DCMetroTheaterArts