[Opera Lively interview # 131] On the occasion of her performance of Dorabella for the Metropolitan Opera's Così fan tutte in early May 2014 (see our review [here]), Opera Lively met in person the great American singer Isabel Leonard, for this interesting interview. We were particularly impressed with Isabel for her intelligence, friendliness, and solid demeanor. She is direct, straightforward, articulate, genuine, and strikes us as a very good and hardworking person. Given her beautiful voice, fabulous looks, and accomplished acting, this young lady certainly deserves the success her career has achieved. Our already significant admiration for her artistry grew even deeper after her charming interview, which we are pleased to share with our readers.
Photo Credit Deniz Saylan
Singer: Isabel Leonard
Fach: Isabel is extremely versatile and is comfortable in both the soprano and mezzo repertoires, including coloratura singing
Born in: New York City in 1982 (her mother is from Argentina)
Recently in: Così fan tutte (Dorabella), Metropolitan Opera House
Next in: Tanglewood concert, June 12; recital in Aspen, August 2; Le Nozze di Figaro (Metropolitan Opera; Rosina), several performances, September 22 through October 25.
Highly acclaimed for her “passionate intensity and remarkable vocal beauty,” Isabel Leonard continues to thrill audiences both at home in the United States and internationally.
In the 2013-2014 season, Isabel Leonard has recently returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Dorabella in Così fan tutte under James Levine, which was also an HD broadcast in the spring of 2014. Ms. Leonard made her highly-awaited debuts at the San Francisco Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, both as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. She also debuted at the Dallas Opera as Rosina. In concert, she appeared alongside other opera luminaries at Carnegie Hall’s Marilyn Horne Song Celebration and with Nathan and Julie Gunn at the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.
Metropolitan Opera audiences recently heard Ms. Leonard in two important role debuts during the 2012-2013 season: Miranda in Adès’ The Tempest and as Blanche in John Dexter’s ground-breaking production of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. She also appeared in the English-version of The Barber of Seville which was broadcast internationally in HD. Last season also brought another important role and company debut as Sesto in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito at the Canadian Opera Company. In recital, Ms. Leonard was featured in her Zankel Hall recital debut at Carnegie Hall. She also appeared at the University of Notre Dame, Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, San Francisco Performances, and at Atlanta’s Spivey Hall to rave reviews. She debuted Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra under Edo de Waart and closed the season in Japan at the Saito Kinen Festival, where she performed the title role in L’enfant et les sortilèges and Concepcion in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole with Seiji Ozawa conducting.
In recent seasons, Ms. Leonard has appeared as Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, all at the Metropolitan Opera; as Sesto in Laurent Pelly’s production of Giulio Cesare at Opéra National de Paris with Emmanuel Haim conducting and as Cherubino at the Glyndebourne Festival in the new Michael Grandage production of Le Nozze di Figaro. At the Vienna State Opera she was Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro. She made a sensational role debut as Ruggiero in the new David Alden production of Handel’s Alcina at Opera National de Bordeaux and her interpretation of Costanza in the Peter Sellars production of Vivaldi’s Griselda at the Santa Fe Opera was met with the highest critical and audience acclaim.
Isabel with Erwin Schrott in Don Giovanni - photo Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
Other notable engagements have included the title role in Offenbach’s La Périchole at Opéra National de Bordeaux, where she also made her European and professional stage debut as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, 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. Ms. Leonard made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette conducted by Plácido Domingo. This production was recorded for DVD release and broadcast live in HD.
In the concert circuit Ms. Leonard has appeared with the New York Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel, the Boston Symphony under Gustavo Dudamel, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic also under Dudamel. The Chicago Symphony conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen and by Valery Gergiev has also featured Ms. Leonard, as well as the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst and James Conlon. As a recitalist Ms. Leonard has performed among other venues, at Carnegie Hall (Weill) and Alice Tully Hall.
Ms. Leonard is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards which include a Grammy for her role as Miranda in The Tempest, as well as the prestigious 2013 Richard Tucker Award from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, the Beverly Sills Award (2011), 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 under the tutelage of Edith Bers. She has also studied with Marilyn Horne, Brian Zeger, Warren Jones, Margo Garrett, Denise Massé and Janine Reiss.
Ms. Leonard is one of the newest members of the Board of Carnegie Hall, where she is in the good company of Renée Fleming, Marilyn Horne, Yo-Yo Ma, and Jessye Norman.
Isabel Leonard is prominently featured in four DVD/blu-ray discs:
The Exclusive Opera Lively interview with Isabel Leonard
© Opera Lively - Disclaimer: this exclusive interview is copyrighted by Opera Lively with all rights reserved, and is not to be reproduced without express authorization. Brief excerpts can be used after consultation (use the Contact Us form) as long as proper credit and a link to the full interview on Opera Lively are provided. Links to the interview can be posted without authorization.
Credits - Questions by Opera Lively journalist Luiz Gazzola. Photos used with permission from the singer's website and sent from the Metropolitan Opera Press Department; credits given when known (we'll gladly add credits if they are sent to us); fair promotional use.
Luiz Gazzola for Opera Lively - Mozart’s music in this piece has a sensual beauty. He also does ensembles in this opera at his best – this is the quintessential ensemble piece. “Soave sia il vento” is arguably one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed. Please comment on the music of Così fan tutte.
Isabel Leonard – I do think that in Così Mozart did two things very well. Well, he does everything very well, but in this piece he did something so wonderful with the characters! The music he writes for each character is very specific to their temperament and their personality. With the rhythm and the way the line is written, he paints the picture of these characters in those musical lines. Then, of course, he manages to take all of these characters who are so different one from another, and put them together in ensembles where they become a unison voice. That’s a wonderful and incredible thing, and very harmonic.
OL – What is your take on Dorabella’s personality? Some people feels that she comes across as shallow or ditsy, but I’d say she is vivacious and spontaneous and unguarded, and she’s also young and inexperienced. What is the key to singing and acting a good Dorabella? Are there vocal challenges, or is it an easy sing?
IL – Dorabella is a very tricky character to play because she is outwardly the first one to give in, so to speak. Everybody thinks that this means she is shallow or easy, but I always play her, personally, by remembering where the story comes from and what kind of history and cultural education these girls have. I feel that really helps understand their actions. For me, any great comedy comes from some sort of tragedy. In this tragedy, the girls, or Dorabella at least, truly believe that maybe they will be alone. If Ferrando dies, she will live alone, and at that time, that’s not a good thing for a woman. So, I go with this. For me, this is a truth that I can understand. I don’t necessarily relate to it, because as a 21st century woman it is very different, but I can allow myself to accept it.
Isabel as Dorabella in Così fan tutte with Miah Persson - Credit Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
Then, as I play Dorabella it is not hard for me. I don’t judge myself playing her. I don’t judge her choices, because one can’t play a character and judge oneself at the same time. It is important to me to believe all the choices I make as Dorabella and to believe they are the right choices for her. You have to put yourself in a position where you believe her truth. For me, her truth is that she flies by the seat of her pants. She does things, and thinks about them later. However, she does have that, in my mind: the fear of being alone. She is trying to make sure that she ensures her future, and her sister’s future. She says it very clearly in the second act. She says “Fra un ben certo e un incerto c'è sempre gran divario.” [Acto II, cena decima, recitativo – Between something certain and something uncertain there is always a big gap]. At that time, it is true. She is just saying, “this is what is going on right now. This is the truth of our situation at this moment. We don’t know if they are coming back from the war.” And it’s true; I think we can relate to it today if we allow ourselves to get into Così fan tutte on the dramatic level, and not just see it as a kind of light comedy, because it is not.
In terms of singing, Dorabella is not an easy role to sing. It may sound easy because it is not necessarily very high nor very low; however, the arias for Fiordiligi are easier for me to sing, because Dorabella’s arias actually sit higher in the vocal range. The ensembles are lower.
Everybody in that cast sings the whole show. Three hours of music nonstop is a lot of singing. For Dorabella, as a second soprano role, one of the biggest challenges is that you are not only singing harmonies – I love singing harmonies – but in the harmony position you are always following someone else’s lead, generally speaking, which means that on a purely technical level as a singer spending three hours of always following someone else’s instrument means that you never take a bow the way your muscles are meant to. You do it the way somebody else is doing it, so you are fitting in to somebody else’s musculature all the time, and it took me years to find comfort in Dorabella.
OL – Wow, I wouldn’t have imagined it! The issue of misogyny of course comes back every time we talk about Così fan tutte. However I don’t really agree that this opera is misogynistic. What Alfonso demonstrates is that if we apply to people different standards than the ones we apply to ourselves, we run into trouble. He says “everyone accuses women, but I excuse them even if they have a thousand changes of affection in a day. Some might call it a vice, others a habit, but to me it seems a necessity of the heart.” Alfonso’s message in my opinion is that we are all human. I think it’s rather an avant-garde view, for Lorenzo da Ponte’s time. What is your take on this?
IL – Don Alfonso is a very interesting character. Most agree that Mozart was ahead of his time, and very provocative not only in this opera but others as well. Emotionally, in the time period, he liked to create a bit of a ruckus. The Marriage of Figaro was a big deal, pitting the classes against each other. Così fan tutte brings up a lot of issues that people didn’t want to discuss at the time. I would have loved to see the first ever performance of Così and its response. Today, the issues which are raised in Così fan tutte depend on how the show is produced and whom the director is. It can be very simplistic if you just go along with the text and you do the show the way it was written. It’s a hard question to answer. Mozart likes to provoke uncomfortable feelings and delve into subjects which force a dialogue and in my opinion whether then or in the future, provoke social evolution.
As an actor in the opera, I have chosen not to try and fully understand Don Alfonso’s intentions, because for me, the girls cannot fully understand his intentions. That’s the whole thing: they don’t understand what is happening. They don’t understand why this was done to them, or why this is done to all four of them in the first place. For me, I don’t agree, of course, with the way things are handled in the opera. I don’t agree with the hurt. I find it sad, but depending on the director and everything, my job is to tell a story that is clear, and make the audience think about whatever is going on.
OL - Conductor Iván Fischer, talking about Così fan tutte, says “everybody is seducible, all of us, regardless of what we think about our own morals.” What would you say to this?
IL – Well, I think it depends on what we are talking about. If we are talking about seducing a person romantically I don’t know, because everyone has their own experiences. I suppose everyone has weaknesses. I know that I can be so-called seduced by a piece of chocolate, if I really want a piece of chocolate. I may say to myself “no, I shouldn’t have it,” but the truth is that I will have it. Everybody has their Achilles’ heel; that’s what I can say. I think some people are very good at protecting it, and others are sometimes in a position where they can’t protect it, and it’s not their fault. They can’t. What about Zerlina! All the women in Don Giovanni, or Cherubino, the Countess, the Count! Romeo and Juliette… ”Seduction” has a bad rap, but as everyone knows, it doesn’t always have to be “bad”.
OL - After all that they go through, people are not necessarily put together again at the end. How do you interpret the end of Così fan tutte? What do you think would happen next to these characters, if the opera continued in real life?
IL - If Così happened today, again, it depends on the people. I imagine for myself, I probably would move on with the new partner or neither at all. Ultimately, I don’t think we know what we would do and that is why this opera always creates so much discussion.
OL – The opera seems to have a message of rationality. This piece involves the stripping away of romantic illusions. It pleads for rationality, for the age of enlightenment. Alfonso’s tactics are brutal. But he is a man of reason. He says “happy is the man who looks at everything on the bright side and allows himself to be guided by reason.” Do you agree?
IL – It’s funny, because when you say rationality, I don’t think of any of the things that happen to them throughout the opera as rational. I think of them as ludicrous. Despina coming in dressed up twice is ludicrous. The fact the girls can’t recognize their men dressed up as Albanians is ludicrous! That wouldn’t happen today, I don’t think. Perhaps, decades later and other major physical changes could create that scenario… but, rational, nope.
OL – But this is an interesting thing, because Mozart didn’t want them to wear a lot of disguise. In terms of stage directions, he wanted them to be recognizable.
IL – Is that in the libretto?
OL – No, but it is mentioned in historical accounts.
IL – Well, it does say in the score they come dressed as Albanians, not much detail as to how recognizable or not. Going with this thought though, I can argue it is a way of being provocative. It could mean several things. Either the couples don’t really know each other that well in the first place, or it’s about what happens to a person when they are under so much distress. Not only it is said that you are blinded by love, you can be blinded by distress, and the women are very distressed when the men leave, and they lose sight. They have to start functioning in their new reality, which is, the possibility of them not having the men there ever again.
OL – What do you think of this current production of Così, and particularly, the emotion of having maestro Levine back in the podium?
IL – Having Levine back is wonderful. There is just no doubt about it. It is wonderful to work with someone who enjoys making good music and has a deep connection with his singers. He supports us, as we support him. I don’t romanticize about these situations, because the truth of them is that they are the best of all worlds. It is why we do what we do, to work with someone who is not only dedicated to his craft but is also dedicated to the people on stage. For me it’s very simple. It means – we are going to work, and we are going to put on a good performance, a good show, because that’s what our job is: to do this, and to do well, to our best ability, so that the audience can experience this fabulous thing. To have him there means that we are going to do that, and that’s what’s wonderful to me.
OL – You’ve done this role many times, in gorgeous productions. I particularly like the very modern one you did in Salzburg. Any comments on that one or interesting memories about it?
IL – The Salzburg production was the first time that I sang Dorabella. It was a challenge for me to do it for the first time in such a modern production, where the concept was turned upside down on its head. Like every production that I do, no matter how I feel about the production, or if it is difficult to understand conceptually, it’s my job to make sense of it and to tell that story. That’s what I do.
OL – Let’s now talk about other products in your discography. I’d like you to comment on the experience of having been part of two extraordinary productions that got recorded on video – The Tempest, and Giulio Cesare. Let’s start with The Tempest, in which you sang Miranda. What do you think of the piece, and what are your memories from that production?
Isabel with Simon Keenlyside in The Tempest - photo Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
IL – The Tempest was a fabulous experience. We all knew we were part of something special from the first rehearsal with Thomas Adès. He is a fantastic man, so kind and patient! Adès has an incredible compositional voice. It’s his voice. It comes through and it is wonderful. His music is complex and tricky to learn, but once you’ve got it, it's as natural as anything else that you’ve done. Of course, I loved working with Simon Keenlyside, Alek Shrader, and Audrey Luna. The experience brought us all together and we have remained friends.
OL – What about the Giulio Cesare?
IL – Another first. It was a very different experience. I was in France, and my son was only seven months old. I don’t think I slept at all, maybe two hours at a time, every day. So, I don’t remember a lot [laughs], at all! However, I remember enjoying my colleagues very much. I remember developing a friendship with Laurent Pelly. We’ve worked together since then, in different projects. I adore him!
OL – I interviewed him too, and found him brilliant.
IL – Yes, I like him so much! We were in Japan together doing L’Enfant et les sortilèges, and L’Heure Espagnole. We had so much fun!
OL – Was it the same production he did in Glyndebourne, which was visually stunning?
IL – Yes, great evening.
OL – Another great production you were part of was Dialogue des Carmélites at the Met in 2013. What can you tell us about that one?
Isabel as Blanche in Dialogue des Carmélites - Photo Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera
IL - Dialogue des Carmélites was absolutely fantastic! It was an acting and musical experience different than most of the other pieces I’ve done so far. I loved working with David Kneuss [stage director]. I love everything about the piece and the role of Blanche. Sometimes I sing soprano roles, sometimes mezzo, it depends on what fits. I speak French and love the French language, so it’s very easy for me to get into it and I like to dig my fingers into the dirt of the situation. I had read books about that time period, about the Carmelite nuns and their history… It was very interesting for me to be a part of it.
It had also been my very first opera when I was in college! Frank Corsaro directed Dialogue des Carmélites when I was a freshman at Juilliard, and I was in the chorus. So for me to go from being in the chorus as a freshman, to last spring singing Blanche… was an incredible journey.
OL – Let’s talk about your training a little bit. You are a native New Yorker and trained at Juilliard, steps from the Met. Any interesting memories of that phase?
IL – Juilliard was wonderful. I did my undergrad, my Masters and one year of an Artist Diploma. Thanks to my wonderful voice teacher and all the other incredible teachers and coaches I had, all of this has been made into a possibility.
OL – You studied with Marilyn Horne. How was it for you, to train with such a legend?
IL – I worked with Marilyn Horne in Santa Barbara, at the Music Academy of the West for a summer festival. She was the one that introduced me to Matthew Epstein, who became my manager, so she was very instrumental in launching my career. Working with her was really fun! I would bring in all this repertoire that she’s done, like Cenerentola, and she would have me singing fun ornaments, just for fun, "try this, try that," and we’d play around.
She is an incredible woman, and someone whom I admire so much for what she has done, and especially for what she gives back. I am involved in education as much as possible and I will continue on this path alongside performing. Mrs. Horne has done and continues to do this. She is really an incredible model. It’s admirable. It’s an honorable thing to do, as an artist, to not just do your art, but to educate and inspire others, because that’s how art is perpetuated. The only way is to inspire others to do it as well. She does that.
OL – You won numerous awards. Was it nerve-wrecking? Do you feel that this is an important path for a young singer? The Beverly Sills one must have been very special.
IL – I did only a few competitions. I was very lucky and very blessed to win some of these awards where they call you and they say, “Oh, you won an award!” and you kind of think “Why on Earth? I haven’t done anything!” [laughs] In some ways there is more pressure because you think “Why me?” when at the same time it is great recognition. People think artists are the most self-assured people, but generally speaking they are not. Most can be pretty insecure, or unsure of themselves, so to receive any sort of recognition or to receive thanks, really it is a very good thing for an artist. I mean, everybody wants to know that they are doing a good job. I want to be doing a good job as a mother. If someone were to give me the New York City Best Mom Award, I would be thrilled! [laughs] Of course I would still think “No, I’m sure you are wrong” but everybody wants that kind of recognition.
OL – Great answer! Is the rapid rise to fame something that ever gets difficult to deal with, on a personal level?
IL – Well, I don’t know if it’s rapid or not. I don’t really have anything to compare it to. I started working pretty young, because I didn’t do any Young Artist Programs. I feel for me it actually has been pretty steady. I haven’t sky-rocketed out of any one place. I have been working professionally very hard for eight years, and seven in school prior to that . All I can say is I’ve been working really hard for a long time and hopefully it won’t stop. I have loads more I want to learn, experience and create.
OL – You have accomplished quite a lot already for a young singer. What are your remaining career goals? Where do you see your voice taking you?
IL - I hope for a slow and continuous development; to continue evolving appropriately in the different aspects of my life and career; not only to perpetuate work in the business of music, but in the world of music; to think about the question: what do people need? Audiences need different things as time goes on, and I believe it is my duty to present an experience to them that hopefully enhances their own lives in some way, however small. Music is an incredible binding force. I will be very fortunate if I can do this until I’m quite old and grey (well, I may go grey pretty soon).
OL – What would be your advice for a young singer starting today?
IL – For a young singer, I honestly don’t know. I can’t project too far into the future. It’s hard enough to do this when we sign contracts three or four years in advance. I try not to project too much. For me, it’s about staying healthy every day; singing as healthily as I can. I have other responsibilities in my life aside from my job, and so for me it’s not about where my career is going to be in the next ten years; it is rather, where will my life be in the next ten years? What kind of life would make me happy? How do I find the incredibly difficult balance between life and this crazy career? I surely don’t have any answers. For a young singer, the biggest thing I would say is make sure you get your technique sorted out. Technique is a very important thing.
OL – What about the business side, the exposure side, what would you say to a young singer?
IL - Everybody is different. If young singers like doing competitions, then by all means, do competitions. If you don’t really like competitions and you find it to be a situation that makes you nervous, or freeze up, I wouldn’t say it’s necessary. Competitions don’t really give you a career. Some of them put you in the forefront. The National Council Auditions give you more exposure. Auditions have you heard by certain people. But aside from the Met National Council, I don’t know of a career that was launched solely by the winning of one competition. There is so much more than that! It’s about working and learning all sorts of different things – how to sing, how to be in the theater, how to be a good colleague, learning all about yourself, being a performer; it’s a lot.
OL – Going further back, how did opera came to be your career choice?
IL – Opera just sort of happened to me. I went to Juilliard because I wanted to learn how to sing properly. I wasn’t sure at the end of High School if I wanted to do musical theater or opera. I went there because I thought “this is where I will get the best musical education” and it turned out to be the right place for me, and there I was entrenched in classical music, classical art songs, and I loved it. That’s the direction I was trained in, but it doesn’t mean I wouldnt want to go back and sing with a jazz band like I did in High School or sing musical theater. I would love to do Camelot, Showboat, and Kiss me, Kate, to name a few. It is all music I grew up listening to and that I can sing. It’s just not what I went to school for.
OL – I noticed that your all time favorite musician is not a classical musician, but rather, the great Ella Fitzgerald. Please explain your choice.
IL – Ella Fitzgerald is absolutely one of my favorites. The singers we love, we love them because they have their own recognizable voices. We listen to the songs they sing, even if we don’t know the songs, because it’s them singing the song. That is why I love Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Doris Day…the list is very long. I happen to have an affinity for that era of music, and I love the music that they sang. I love Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Sondheim, and Bernstein, etc.
For me, it’s about the music: these people with their voice, their interpretation of the lyrics, bringing something of themselves to the song, how to spin a phrase, and how to sing the line… I listen to several of them singing the same song and I would never say one were better than the other because they are all different interpretations of the same text, and each one of them are so honest that they are all true to me. It is music that I love.
OL – How do you juggle the career of opera singer and the fact that you are the mother of a young child?
IL – I will just say; with a lot of difficulty!
OL – Does your son come to the opera?
IL - I have never forced him to come to the opera. It’s where I go to work, and if he wants to join me he can; if he doesn’t, he doesn’t have to. The invitation is open. He knows that it is open to him and a special place to visit.
OL – How do you define your personality and your take on life?
IL – My personality and take on life… I have no idea! [laughs] I can say what I try to do. I try to run my day with as much care and kindness as I can. It doesn’t always work. I try very hard to feel and do everything that I possibly can for everyone that is close and dear to me in my life, and for my work. I am very detail-oriented. I can be incredibly organized. This is usually very good, but sometimes it is difficult when I can’t get into a new score unless I organize something else that is going on in my life, and at that moment, I may really need to get into the music! So, sometimes I have to break certain habits in order to get along with my To Do list! [laughs] I have To Do lists all the time, all over the place. I take care of a lot. I do. I don’t question it, I don’t doubt it, I don’t wonder why, I don’t think it’s unfair (well, we are human. Sometimes, we just think things are unfair!). I just have a lot to take care of. We all do. Everybody has different lives, different challenges in their lives, and I just try to get it done, as best as I can. [laughs]
OL – What do you like to do besides opera, and I suppose, your family?
IL – Of course my family is very important to me. my son, my mother, my friends… My son and I will do art together, sometimes. My father was a visual artist and he and I used to paint together, so when I have time we’ll do some sort of art project, even if it’s just drawing together. We like to do that, and we like to go outside.
I still love to dance, since I grew up dancing, so if I can go to a dance class (theater, tap, flamenco, etc.) I will. However, it is very challenging to find the time . But, I Just love, love, love it. I mean, the reality of the situation is that I have two full-time jobs, so time is scarce. I enjoy taking a long walk up Broadway, if I get the chance. If I have to make a phone call I’d rather walk and talk to someone than sit down.
Or, I love being quiet! [laughs] I like peace and quiet. I like simple enjoyable things, whether it’s by myself or with my friends, my son… I don’t like a lot of drama. I really don’t. My friends will probably laugh, because there is so much drama in opera and there is so much drama in life, however I don’t need it! [laughs] I’m happy to have drama in opera and nowhere else. [laughs] I don’t know, it’s hard to describe yourself. I don’t think about it very much.
OL – Very nice!
Let's listen to the singer.
Here we see her dazzling coloratura in the famous "Una voce poco fa," performed in English at the Metropolitan Opera:
Here the winner of the Richard Tucker Award, Isabel, performs Ombra Vane from Vivaldi's Griselda, at the gala - very impressive!:
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Bookmark our site and come back for more - several new and exciting interviews are always coming to Opera Lively - recent ones have included composer Kevin Puts, tenor Giuseppe Filianoti, mezzo Magdalena Kozená, tenor Lawrence Brownlee, international stars Diana Damrau and Eva-Maria Westbroek, veteran mezzo Frederica von Stade, emerging soprano Lisette Oropesa, stage director and opera company administrator Francesca Zambello, and brilliant contemporary composer George Benjamin. More recent ones have included famous stage director Laurent Pelly, Greek National Opera artistic director and principal conductor Myron Michailidis, the great mezzo Sarah Connolly, Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko, star tenor Juan Diego Flórez, and others.