Delos artist Isabel Leonard performs the role of Ada in the Word Premiere performance of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain this Saturday. Beyond her festival performances, she will also be signing her new Preludios recording on August 15th at 6:30pm at the Santa Fe Opera Shop!
Leonard, who also sings regularly at the Met, sees Ada as something of a fish-out-of-water character driven by her love for her father.“She comes from the city; she’s out of her element,” Leonard said. “She’s the companion and caretaker of her father. They definitely have a closer relationship because her mother died at (her) birth. I think that the same nature keeps her devoted to Inman.”
Both singers called Higdon’s music beautiful and technically challenging.…
“She likes to shift the tonality around and there’s a lot of syncopation. You have to be very much in contact with the conductor and your colleagues. It’s extremely vivid,” Leonard added.
The New York-born Leonard grew up singing before entering the Juilliard School. When she was a young girl, she says she rented every Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie she could find. Hers was an adolescence immersed in music.
“I could always carry a tune,” she said. “But I didn’t know I would be singing opera. I thought I’d be in theater.
“I went through a whole Beatles phase when I was in middle school,” the mezzo-soprano continued.
Later she discovered Ken Burns’ history of jazz CDs. Today she says her favorite opera is whatever she is currently singing.
In Isabel Leonard’s first release on Delos, she explores the riches of Spanish song, in all its varied Iberian forms and styles that can be traced back as far as its millennium-old Moorish influences. The generous program encompasses pure folksongs, folk-influenced art songs, dances and popular theater songs by quite a few of Spain’s finest composers of the late-19th and 20th-centuries: Mompou, Falla, García Lorca, Sanjuán, Granados and Montsalvatge.