Imagista: The immensely talented and stunning Grammy Award winner gets candid with Imagista about a life in Opera
Imagista: You obviously have a remarkable, even enviable, talent as a singer and performer. At what age did you know you possessed this talent and at what age did you decided to pursue a career as an Opera singer?
Isabel Leonard: Well, thank you! That’s very kind. I think I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a performer in some way although I would never have verbalized it or really ever knew if that was going to be a possibility. My opera track really started when I went to Juilliard for my undergrad. I had been singing all different genres up until then throughout my youth and high school. Musical theater, jazz, etc.
Imagista: With regards to Opera, I think that most people either love or…well…not so much…Personally I was forced to go to the Opera with my opera obsessed mother but now I love it. Did you always love opera or did you grow into it?
Isabel Leonard: No, I thought opera was ridiculous when I was a kid! Haha probably because my mother listened to it on the radio all the time, and well, we rebel against our parents, don’t we? But I’ve always loved loved loved music. And for me. Even now, my love for opera comes from the love of storytelling and the theater. Give me honest actors and good music any day.
Imagista: For those who don’t “get” or don’t love opera what advice would you offer the open-minded ones regarding how to approach it? I think some people simply find it intimidating.
Isabel Leonard: I think the best way to see an opera is when you know someone in it! I know that’s not always a possibility, but we watch sports because we also feel connected to the athletes right? So, I think it’s important to try and find a connection to the singers. So many of us are on Instagram and social media, and I think it’s a fun way to get more insight into the backstage life so to speak.
Imagista: You accomplished a lot already in your career including winning Multiple Grammy Awards. How did winning a Grammy feel, how did that affect you both personally and professionally?
Isabel Leonard: That moment was incredible. I didn’t even know at the time that The Tempest by Thomas Adés had been nominated. In fact, the Grammies had never been on my radar at all. So, that came as a huge surprise! But, as life goes, I couldn’t go to the Grammy Awards. My award came in the mail, and I was in the middle of rehearsals for something else! Haha always moving!
It’s a great feeling to win any accolade for your work. It’s a huge boost for your confidence especially in a business that’s quite difficult!!
Imagista: What career dreams do you have that you have not yet achieved?
Isabel Leonard: So, I would like a long, fulfilling life. My friend who is sitting with me as I write this says I should want the Kennedy Center Honor, and aim for an EGOT. So, yeah! That would be fun. ?
Imagista: You’re a Mama right? How do you balance such a busy career and parenting?
Isabel Leonard: Sometimes, I have no idea, but If I could link my iCal to this interview, you’d see! I try to stay organized and I try to make sure I schedule in regular down time. That usually means, on the days of shows, I don’t schedule anything unless it’s really really important. I put all my work responsibilities during my sons school hours so that I can be with him when he’s out. Of course, that’s not always possible, but I work really hard at scheduling, all the time. I think it’s actually my third job after being a mom and opera singer.
Imagista: What are you working on in the coming weeks and months that you’re most excited about?
Isabel Leonard: I have a concert on Sunday with Andrea Bocelli! Very exciting. I’m really looking forward to that. We will be singing some wonderful duets on the Met Stage.
Monday I start a month long tour with the Czech National Symphony and John Mauceri conducting. We will be performing a lot of Leonard Bernstein’s music. 15 concerts in 25 days! Yikes!