Taking on Opera’s Great Soprano Roles: A Conversation with Leah Crocetto

Wm: Since we last talked, you’ve had some career milestones, including your role debut as Aida in a new production of Verdi’s “Aida” and the Western Hemisphere premiere of Donizetti’s’ The Siege of Calais” for Director Francesca Zambello.  I’d like to discuss  the Verdi first.

Obviously, Verdi has been and will continue to be a centerpiece of recent and upcoming schedule of performances. You’ve performed Elisabetta di Valois in “Don Carlo” at Opera Philadlephia and Aida in a new Zambello production at the San Francisco Opera and the Washington National Opera and will perform it again at the Seattle Opera. 

You also will perform Leonora in “Il Trovatore” at Oper Frankfurt (Germany) and Elisabetta di Valois at the Washington National Opera. 

Do you find any special challenges in singing these iconic Verdi roles?

LC: First of all I feel incredibly grateful to have been gifted the voice to sing these incredibly iconic roles and Verdi’s glorious music. I pinch myself every time! Francesca Zambello has been an incredible mentor to me and has given me many opportunities to bring portray these heroines. The biggest difficulty I find in bringing these ladies to life is wrapping my head around the stories and giving them relevance. This is where Francesca comes in and beautifully breathes life into archaic stories.

There is also the vocal aspect. In my past, I have often gotten stuck comparing myself to other singers, but this does not do me any favors. So embracing my vocal timbre and what I have to offer as a Verdi singer or a lirico-spinto soprano has been key for me in gaining success in this repertoire.

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