Artist of the Week: Grammy Winner Isabel Leonard’s Essential Recordings

By David Salazar

It can be hard to get a chance to hear some of the greatest opera singers in the world in the theater. But many great artists have seen their efforts preserved on some form of recording, whether it be in studio recordings or video.

OperaWire’s Artist of the Week Isabel Leonard has a unique recorded library which features numerous classics as well as unique works. Here is a look at Leonard’s most essential recordings.

Preludios – Delos

Not only is this recital album the singing actresses’ first solo album, but it also features Leonard’s Latin American heritage. Leonard, of Argentine descent, showcases music from Mompou, Falla, Lorca and Granados among others. This is the best chance to see the singer in a more intimate setting using the full range of colors her voice is capable of.

Cosi Fan Tutte – EuroArts

This production, directed by Claus Guth, put Leonard on the international map in one of her signature roles. Few singers have the handle on Mozart’s repertoire like Leonard does and this is video performance also showcases her unrivaled acting ability as Dorabella.

The Tempest – Deutsche Grammophon

This production made Leonard a Grammy Award winner. It features a superstar cast that includes Simon Keenlyside, Alek Shrader, Audrey Luna and Alan Oke and showcases Leonard in a more fragile and dramatic quality when compared with the other video performances featuring the singer. It is yet another one of Leonard’s many successful forays into modern music, a staple of hers throughout her career.

Cold Mountain – Pentatone

This Grammy Award-nominated album is among her most recent releases and possibly one of her finest achievements. In a recording that features Nathan Gunn, Jay Hunter Morris and Emily Fons, Leonard is quite possibly the scene-stealer as the tender yet brave Ada.

L’Enfant et les Sortileges  – DECCA Classics

And yet another Grammy Award winning recording (noticing a trend here), this is Leonard’s most versatile vocal recording featuring her as a child that goes through a labyrinth of emotions. Wait until you hear her tantrum. You will never see other children’s tantrums the same way again. You might be more thankful for them.


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