Ben Finane – Listen Magazine
A native New Yorker, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 as Stephano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and starred in 2012 as Miranda in the Met’s premiere of Adès’s The Tempest. She opened the Met’s current season as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Leonard’s most recent release is a children’s album: The Polar Express / Gertrude McFuzz (GPR Records).
BF: You’ve had dance training at the Joffrey Ballet School. I don’t think many people realize that a lot of acting is movement — and nonverbal. I would imagine onstage that dance experience really helps.
IL: When I think about my dance training, I realize how lucky I’ve been to have it. At this point in my life, I can go into a dance class and enjoy myself but also take the class seriously; I can continue to work on the little things. I’m never going to be a professional dancer — I don’t want to, nor have I ever wanted to — but it’s nice to have that coordination, and to be able to do any step in a pinch. When I’m studying for a new role, I watch other people — characters
in a book or a film, or even just someone on the street. I draw from them for the characters I play. It’s really easy for me to see what they’re doing because I can break it down: when they walk, do they lead with their hips, or with their stomach? Which side do they favor?