Charming beginnings: Anthony Leon

American-born, Cuban and Colombian tenor, Anthony León, is a young up-and-comer who is quickly developing an international performing career. Anthony’s newest engagements include singing Spoletta in Tosca at Los Angeles Opera, Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor at Los Angeles Opera, Remendado in Carmen at Santa Fe Opera, Ernesto in Don Pasquale at New England Conservatory, and being on tour performing the roles of Giove and Amphinome in Monteverdi’s opera, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria with the ensemble I Gemelli. On tour, Anthony performed at Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, France; Arsenal Theater in Metz, France; and Victoria Hall in Geneva, Switzerland. A recorded album is in the works and is set to be released in 2023. During the 2022/2023 season, Anthony will be a Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist at the Los Angeles Opera. In the fall of 2021, Anthony also presented the role of Count Almaviva in Opera Theatre St. Louis’ production of The Barber of Seville. During the summer of 2021, Anthony was an Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe Opera, covering the role of Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition to these contracts, Anthony has recently performed in other leading roles such as Le Chevalier in Dialogue des Carmélites, Agenore in Il re pastore, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, Tamino in The Magic Flute, the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, andFrederic in The Pirates of Penzance. Most recent honors include winning the First Prize and Don Plácido Domingo Ferrer Zarzuela Prize at Operalia, 2022. He has also been a winner of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition in the Los Angeles District in 2022 and received a Career Development Grant from the Sullivan Foundation. Other accolades include being named “Best up-and-comer” in the Inland Empire Magazine’s “Best of the Best 2019” list and being awarded the Wendy Shattuck ‘75 Presidential Scholarship for Vocal Studies, among other prestigious awards. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Music from La Sierra University and a Master of Music degree concentrating in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, studying under the tutelage of Bradley Williams.

Hello, Anthony! It is such a pleasure to have this conversation with you. You have just returned with the 1st prize from the Operalia Competition 2022. What does this prize mean to you, and how did you benefit from this experience? Do you consider it like a springboard for young Artists?

Hello to you as well! I am honored to be here! Winning the 1st prize and the Zarzuela prize at Operalia has an incredible dream come true. It is one of the most defining moments of my life. I grew up admiring the competition and all the singers it produced over the years. Joining the ranks as one of the winners is a hugely humbling honor. As a young artist, this competition gave me an unprecedented opportunity to sing for a panel formed of the most important directors of opera houses from all over the world. And then, on top of that, it gave me the chance to sing on the world stage in the finals. It is a springboard for young singers to be heard and seen in such conditions. It is the world cup of opera and I was so grateful just to be there in Riga, Latvia, for this edition.

Do you think you would have won Operalia without an agent to support you? How much of an influence do you think this aspect has in an artist’s life?

I believe an artist’s agent is crucial for their success in the opera industry. If the artist clashes with the agent, then it can be detrimental to their careers, confidence, and actions. But if the agent and artist connect well, then it can be a fruitful partnership that enhances the ability of the artist to thrive in their career. I am very grateful to my agent for helping me to be prepared as much as I could for Operalia. While I was there in Riga, I realized that so many of the agents representing the singers were there as well. Many singers had their team with them. However, at the end of the day, Operalia is a singing competition where singers are cumulatively scored by a panel of twelve of the most prestigious judges in the opera world over three rounds. Every round to the finals counts in your score to determine the winner. The only way to prevail in this scenario is to sing well. If the voice is not well prepared and at its best, having an agent will not matter. Many people who don’t have an agent and do well at Operalia end up being signed by the end of the week. It is a very intense and nerve-wracking experience. However, if you are able to give your best while performing, you are well rewarded.

Read the entire interview here, in the 9th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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