The Baker-Baum Concert Hall at
The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center
7600 Fay Avenue
La Jolla, California 92037
Thursday, December 1, 2022 at 7:30 pm
Isabel Leonard, one of today’s brightest opera stars, joins one of the world’s great guitar players for an intimate performance that will conjure the magnificent musical traditions of Spain. Back in October 2021, Pablo Sáinz-Villegas was invited by Peter Gelb of The Met Opera to join forces, in part, with opera superstar Isabel Leonard in a worldwide broadcast live from Versailles. Following its success, the two artists decided to work creatively to build out a special vocal-guitar program for a limited-run tour in the United States, featuring popular arias and songs beloved around the world.
Praised by Billboard as “the soul of the Spanish guitar”, Pablo Sáinz-Villegas has become a worldwide sensation known as today’s greatest guitarist. As described by The New York Times, his “virtuosic playing characterized by irresistible exuberance” conjures the passion, playfulness, drama, and rich musical heritage of La Rioja, his homeland. His performances include appearances with the Chicago Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, and Los Angeles Philharmonic at Hollywood Bowl.
Isabel Leonard is a Grammy Award–winning mezzo-soprano who has performed leading roles in every major opera house in the world including The Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and Vienna State Opera; as well as in concert on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Salzburg Festival and The Kennedy Center. She is on the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall. In 21/22 she returned to The Metropolitan Opera for Cendrillon and Ariadne auf Naxos (Komponist), Washington National Opera for Come Home: A Celebration of Return and Carmen, and The Santa Fe Opera for Carmen.
“I’m thrilled to be presenting this concert by the esteemed mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard. This will be the third time San Diego Opera has presented singers in the perfect acoustic of the Baker-Baum Concert Hall, but this is the first time for us to do so in partnership with the La Jolla Music Society, which I hope will be the beginning of an ongoing relationship,” shares San Diego Opera General Director David Bennett. This concert continues San Diego Opera’s mission of strategic partnerships with other San Diego cultural organizations including the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Ballet, La Jolla Playhouse, Fern Street Circus, Animal Cracker Conspiracy, and more.
San Diego Opera debut. Multiple Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard continues to thrill audiences both in the opera house and on the concert stage. In repertoire that spans from Vivaldi to Mozart to Nico Muhly, she has graced the stages of the Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival, Bavarian State Opera, Carnegie Hall, Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera as Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Angelina in Cinderella, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Charlotte in Werther, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, Costanza in Griselda, the title roles in La Périchole and Der Rosenkavalier, as well as Sesto in both Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and Handel’s Giulio Cesare.
She has appeared with some of the foremost conductors of her time: Valery Gergiev, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Charles Dutoit, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yannick Nézét-Seguin, Franz Welser-Möst, Plácido Domingo, Edward Gardner, James Levine, Edo de Waart, James Conlon, Marin Alsop, Sir Andrew Davis, Michele Mariotti, Harry Bicket, Andris Nelsons, and Michael Tilson Thomas with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, among others. Ms. Leonard is in constant demand as a recitalist and is on the Board of Trustees at Carnegie Hall.
She is a multiple Grammy Award winner, most recently for Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges on Decca (2016) and The Tempest from The Metropolitan Opera on Deutsche Grammophon (2014), both Best Opera Recording. Television and film appearances include Sesame Street and host for The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD movie theater transmissions. Ms. Leonard is the recipient of the Richard Tucker Award and has lent her voice, in honor of her father who died from the disease, to the Prostate Cancer Foundation by filming a public service announcement (PSA).
This season she makes debuts at Royal Opera House Covent Garden as Charlotte in Werther, Dutch National Opera as Angelina in Cinderella, Cincinnati Opera as Rosina in The Barber of Seville, and The Glimmerglass Festival as Maria in The Sound of Music. In concert, she will sing L’enfant et les sortilèges with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony, Shéhérazade with the New York Philharmonic and Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and La damnation de Faust with the Saint Louis Symphony. Additional performances include a concert with the University of North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and a recital at the University of Connecticut.
San Diego Opera debut. Praised as “the soul of the Spanish guitar”, he has become a worldwide sensation known as this generation’s great guitarist. Pablo Sáinz-Villegas has been acclaimed by the international press as the successor of Andrés Segovia and an ambassador of Spanish culture in the world. His “virtuosic playing characterized by irresistible exuberance” (The New York Times) make him one of the most acclaimed soloists by prestigious conductors, orchestras and festivals. He is known for his passionate, emotive and open-hearted playing, whether he is performing at intimate recital halls, or playing to an audience of over 85,000 at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid with beloved tenor Plácido Domingo who has hailed him as “the master of the guitar”. Together they have performed at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles as well as on a floating stage on the Amazon River. They most recently released “Volver” a duo album with Sony Classical. Pablo Sáinz-Villegas has appeared on some of the world’s most prominent stages including the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Musikverein in Vienna, and the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing. He has played in more than 40 countries and with orchestras such as the Israel Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the National Orchestra of Spain. In 2019 Pablo will make his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing the beloved Concierto the Aranjuez and as a solo recitalist he will perform for the first time at the Harris Theater in Chicago and at Boston’s Celebrity Series. He will also continue touring with his trio band along with a special presentation at the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club in New York. Billboard Magazine named him “the global ambassador of Spanish guitar” and as passionate promoter of the development of new repertoire, he has made numerous world premieres including the first composition for guitar by five-time Academy Award-winner John Williams. Sáinz-Villegas thrives over a continuous search of innovative ways to inspire communities since he considers that “music is an ideal tool to humanize this world”. As a lifelong dreamer, educator and philanthropist he has reached more than 35,000 children and youth through his non-profit ‘The Music Without Borders Legacy’ and through his various Artist-In-Residence collaborations with orchestras and festivals.