Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano
Vlad Iftinca, piano

Isabel Leonard

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Sunday, March 17
San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall
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ROSSINI: En medio a mis colores
BERNSTEIN: Somewhere from West Side Story

About This Performance

An engaging presence, authentic beauty and vocal brilliance typify performances by Isabel Leonard, who returns following her riveting SF Performances recital debut in 2008 (just a year after her Metropolitan Opera debut). Her reception then left little doubt that this is a full-blown artist at the beginning of a promising career, having been compared to a young Elly Ameling.

This performance is made possible in part through the generous support of
Mr. and Mrs. J. Patterson McBaine.

Artist Biography

Highly acclaimed for her “passionate intensity and remarkable vocal beauty”, Isabel Leonard continues to make waves in the world of classical music both at home in the United States and abroad.

Ms. Leonard will open the 2011–12 season as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Metropolitan Opera, where she will also sing Zerlina in a new production of Don Giovanni in the spring of 2012, with Sir Andrew Davis conducting. Abroad, she will return to the Vienna State Opera for Rosina and will appear as Ruggiero in the new David Alden production of Handel’s Alcina fo Opera National de Bordeaux. Ms. Leonard closes the season as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Glyndebourne Festival.

Highlights of Ms. Leonard’s 2010–2011 season include Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte at the Metropolitan Opera; Sesto in a Laurent Pelly production of Giulio Cesare at the Opera National de Paris, with Emmanuel Haim conducting and Cherubino at the Opera National de Paris. She finished the season with rave reviews as Costanza in the highly-acclaimed Peter Sellars production of Vivaldi’s Griselda at the Santa Fe Opera. On the concert stage, Ms. Leonard was the featured soloist in concerts with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the spring of 2011, performing Mozart’s Ch’io mi scordi di te?–Non temer, amato bene.

Ms. Leonard’s 2009–2010 season began with one of her signature roles; Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera, followed by Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Colorado. She ends the season with a return engagement at the Hollywood Bowl, singing De Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel conducting.

In the 2008–2009 season, Ms. Leonard appeared with the Metropolitan Opera as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni; was featured in the title role of Offenbach‘s La Perichole at the Opera National de Bordeaux; debuted in the title role of Rossini’s La Cenerentola at the Fort Worth Opera; and made two European debuts: 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.

On the concert stage, Ms. Leonard recently performed Mozart’s C minor Mass with the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst as well as Cherubino in a concert version of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with the Cleveland Orchestra, also conducted by Welser-Möst. Ms. Leonard also appeared as a guest soloist in the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s 75th Birthday Gala in Carnegie Hall last season.

In September 2007, Ms. Leonard made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette, conducted by Plácido Domingo and starring Anna Netrebko and Roberto Alagna. This production was also recorded for video and television transmission and broadcast live over the Metropolitan Opera worldwide radio network. In addition to her Metropolitan Opera debut, she appeared as Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Chicago Opera Theatre and performed the role of Cherubino in a new production of Le Nozze di Figaro at the Santa Fe Opera. She made her first coast-to-coast recital tour including Atlanta, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Fort Worth and her Carnegie Hall debut (Weill Hall). Orchestral engagements for the 2007–2008 season have included performances with the St. Louis Symphony with Jiri Bềlohlàvek in Mozart’s complete Exultate, Jubilate and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4., as a soloist in the Mozart C Minor Mass with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Esa Pekka Salonen and in Berlioz’ Roméo et Juliette, conducted by Valery Gergiev. She made her debut with the Cincinnati May Festival, also performing Berlioz’ Roméo et Juliette, conducted by James Conlon. Ms. Leonard was a featured soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in the summer of 2008 singing a program of Mozart concert arias, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.

During the 2006–07 Season, Ms. Leonard made her New York Philharmonic debut in Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges, conducted by Lorin Maazel, and repeated her roles in Valencia, Spain, in the newly completed Palau de les Arts “Reina Sofía”. She made her professional U.S. opera debut as Stêphano in Atlanta Opera’s production of Roméo et Juliette. She was also a member of The Juilliard Opera Center, where she appeared in their production of Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers and sang the role of Ramiro in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera.

In Summer 2006, Ms. Leonard made her European and professional stage debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Opera National de Bordeaux and her American orchestral debut in The Three-Cornered Hat with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the 2006 Tanglewood Festival, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.

In previous seasons, Isabel Leonard performed with soprano Barbara Bonney in recital at Alice Tully Hall, as presented by The Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society. As a Marilyn Horne Foundation Award Recipient at the prestigious Music Academy of the West, she participated in a master class with Maestro James Levine at Carnegie Hall’s newly restored Zankel Hall and was featured in a solo recital as part of the Foundation’s On Wings of Song series in New York City in December of 2005. She also appeared with the New York Philharmonic in Bernstein’s Candide under the direction of Lonny Price and conducted by Marin Alsop.

A graduate of The Juilliard School, Isabel Leonard sang the title role in the Juilliard Opera Theater production of Cavalli’s La Calisto and the role of Masha in Wargo’s The Music Shop and was the soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 at the Aspen Music Festival, conducted by David Zinman. Ms. Leonard is a recipient of 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, and studies with Edith Bers. She has also studied with Marilyn Horne, Brian Zeger, Warren Jones, Margo Garrett, Denise Massé and Janine Reiss.


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