Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard kicks off the Park Avenue Armory’s 2018 Recital Series with a program celebrating the centenary of composer Leonard Bernstein.
The two-time Grammy winner will play two performances at the intimate Board of Officers Room at the Upper East Side venue: January 5 at 8 PM and January 7 at 3 PM.
“Bernstein has quite a lot of music to choose from—not only in the ‘musical theatre’ genres, but classical and more contemporary works as well. Some well-known, and others not so much,” says Leonard. “It was tricky creating a program of music that not only spoke to me musically, but also more importantly—if not equally—spoke to me strongly through the text…These pieces all have messages that I think are incredibly important and worth hearing.”
Leonard can currently be seen in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro; she is scheduled to sing the role of Cherubino in performances through January 19. While Richard Eyre’s staging of the Mozart opera offers ornate sets and costumes (including Leonard as a young male page), the recital will provide a much more personal setting.
“Most of the time, particularly in recital, all the choices that the audience sees unfolding before them are that of the performer,” explains Leonard. “I can say from experience this definitely creates a scenario in which the singers can feel more open to personal criticism. However, with that comes great freedom to express the music however we feel it.”
Leonard will continue to sing the praises of Bernstein this year in an August 25 concert at Massachusetts’ Tanglewood Music Festival. Among those joining her in the event, hosted by Audra McDonald, are Broadway favorites Jessica Vosk and Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck.
The Armory’s recital series continues in February with a program of art songs and arias by soprano Nadine Sierra. The lineup will also include a recital from participants of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program, the New York recital debut of pianist Severin von Eckardstein, and a program of Mahler and Duparc works from Thomas Oliemans.
For more information, visit ArmoryOnPark.org.