Meet the Region Finalists: David Leigh

David Leigh

Bass Age 26

Region Finals Repertoire

           O Isis und Osiris------------Die Zauberflöte------------Mozart                                                       Come dal Ciel------------Macbeth------------Verdi
         I'm a Lonely Man, Susannah------------Susannah------------Floyd                                              Vecchia Zimarra------------La Bohème------------Puccini
          Il lacerato spirito------------Simon Boccanegra------------Verdi

Oper Idols: Tell us a little bit more about yourself.

David Leigh: I grew up in New York City, did my undergrad in music at Yale, as a composer, and then went to Mannes College and back to Yale School of Music for graduate degrees in voice.

OI: When did you know you wanted to be an opera singer?

DL: Not until relatively late, actually. I was at the end of undergrad when my composition professors started telling me it would be useful to have a graduate degree in an instrument--my best instrument was voice, and I'd sung with the opera a bit, so I applied to grad school to do that. Once I got to school and started hearing amazing voices up close, though, I realized just how much I loved doing this. I think I must have known all along that this was something I wanted to do--I was just never sure if it was possible.

OI: Did the first opera you saw influence you in deciding to become an opera singer?

DL: I'd seen professional opera as a kid and in college, but none of it had as big an impact on me as the first time I heard my colleagues at Mannes, my first opera school. The opera studio had us all sing for each other on our first day in the program in this small, unassuming white room. If you've never heard operatic voices in a space that small before, I can't recommend it enough; it absolutely changed my life. Opera up close is so big, beautiful and exciting, and I was just in awe. I think that was the beginning of my trip down the rabbit hole.

OI: How will you be preparing for the Regionals?

DL: We're getting pretty down to the wire for the Regionals at this point, so I'll just be coaching, studying, and trying to keep everything balanced. It's  tempting with an opportunity like this to revamp everything, but I'm just trying to stay sane, grounded, and smart about my singing, and keep working hard.

OI: Do you have a favorite opera or composer?

DL: I'm a huge Wagner fan, and absolutely love pretty much anything post-Rienzi. There's really nothing that can make me feel like a great performance of Wagner can. I also love all periods of Mozart, and have a particular soft spot for Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro.

OI: What kind of music do you listen to when you want to relax?

DL: Honestly, I'm a major dork; I just listen to opera all the time. Nothing makes me as viscerally happy as listening to one of the great old tenors (Corelli, Del Monaco, et al.) or Leontyne Price. That's my musical comfort food.

OI: Do you have any upcoming performances?

DL: I'm going to Cincinnati next month to sing Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Then after that I'm going to Opera Theatre of St. Louis as a Young Artist, covering Pastor Avery in Emmeline, and singing the Majordomo in La Rondine.