C Concert | New York, NY
On July 10, Isabel Leonard and Jay Hunter Morris teach a special masterclass in Santa Barbara that focuses on Cold Mountain, Jennifer Higdon’s opera. Ms. Leonard and Mr. Hunter Morris created the roles of Ada and Teague at the world premiere at Santa Fe Opera in 2015, and will share their expertise with the Vocal Institute fellows as they prepare for their performances in its west coast premiere. She also sings at recital at Hahn Hall on July 11 with John Churchwell at the piano.
She travels to New York on August 3, where she joins the extraordinary young musicians of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America and Sir Antonio Pappano. Ms. Leonard sings Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été, and Richard Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie completes the program.
L’Enfant et les sortilèges in San Francisco
Isabel Leonard starts the month of June at Carnegie Hall, where she’ll join Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the MET Orchestra in a fascinating program of French music that spans the 20th to 21st centuries. Debussy used shimmering colors to create an impression of the sea in his groundbreaking La mer, while Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2 enthralled audiences with its visceral excitement. No less stirring is his exotic Shéhérazade, a three-song collection inspired by Middle Eastern imagery. Dutilleux’s songs contemplate time and its passing with music that is intricately constructed and painted in vivid colors. This performance takes place on June 3.
She then travels to San Francisco to sing three performances of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges on June 27, 29, 30 with Martyn Brabbins on the podium. She shares the stage with Anna Christy, Nikki Einfeld, Marnie Breckenridge, Ginger Costa Jackson, Jennifer Johnson-Cano, Ben Jones, Kelly Markgraf and Michael Todd Simpson.
IN THE PRESS
Isabel Leonard had just finished singing Sesto in Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” in Paris and was taking a few days off with her 8-month-old son Teo when her manager’s office contacted her and asked whether she was on a plane back to the U.S.
“I’m like, no, I’m actually in Vienna,” she said.
That was good news for the Vienna State Opera. The performer scheduled to play Cherubino had gotten sick, and the company wanted the mezzo-soprano to make an unscheduled debut that night in Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro.”
“I just need to find a baby sitter,” Leonard said.
Three days after her 29th birthday in February 2011, Leonard rushed through a one-woman rehearsal that lasted about 30 minutes per act — “just add hot water. It’s an instant opera” she said with a chuckle. She took the Staatsoper stage hours later in a cast that included Luca Pisaroni, Erwin Schrott and Dorothea Roschmann.
Such has been the life of Leonard, a two-time Grammy-winner and, at 37, a single mom and a sought-after singer.
After starring in three productions at the Metropolitan Opera this season, she appeared at Carnegie Hall on Monday night in an all-French program for new music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin. It was his first concert leading the Met Orchestra.
“This is probably for me one of the healthiest voices I have ever encountered in my life,” Nezet-Seguin said. “The incredible artistry and the attention to words and meaning that she brings to every role she approaches makes it a conductor’s dream.”