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IRVINE, CA— The Philharmonic Society of Orange County opens its 70th anniversary season with Isabel Leonard, the glamorous Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano who has dazzled opera lovers at the great houses worldwide, with Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, praised by Billboard as “the soul of the Spanish guitar” on Monday, October 14, 2023, 8pm, at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Segerstrom Center for the Arts. This program includes popular arias from Gardel to Garcia-Lorca and Latin-inspired guitar solos from Spanish composers Francisco Tárrega and Isaac Albéniz. A pre-concert lecture by Kristi Brown-Montesano will take place at 7pm. This performance is part of the Donna L. Kendall Classical Series with additional support from The Segerstrom Foundation.

Three-time Grammy Award-winning artist Isabel Leonard has established herself as one of the most in-demand performers and a star on the world’s leading stages and screens. Ms. Leonard regularly appears on the world’s leading opera stages including The Metropolitan Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Wiener Staatsoper, Los Angeles Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, San Francisco Opera, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Salzburg Festspiele, and Teatro Comunale di Bologna. She regularly enjoys collaborating with esteemed conductors including but not limited to Valery Gergiev, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Charles Dutoit, Gustavo Dudamel, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Orchestral highlights include appearances with Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and others.

The 2023-2024 season sees Ms. Leonard’s debut with the Bayersiche Staatsoper as Angelina in Jean Pierre Ponnelle’s production of La Cenerentola, and a return to Los Angeles Opera to sing the roles of Donna Elvira in the Kasper Holton production of Don Giovanni as well as her signature role of Rosina in II Barbiere di Siviglia. She also returns to Houston Grand Opera for her role debut as Maria in Francesca Zamebllo’s production of The Sound of Music, and to Washington National Opera to reprise her appearance as the title character in Offenbach’s La Périchole. Concert work includes opening the Dallas Symphony’s season in a special gala performance with Emanuel Ax, an appearance hosting Palm Beach Opera’s season gala, and a live recording of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with Gustavo Gimeno conducting the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Additional concert appearances include Ravel’s Schéhérazade with both the New World Symphony and longtime collaborator Stéphane Denève, the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, and an eleven-city concert tour with renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. Ms. Leonard also appears in recital with Pablo Sáinz-Villegas at the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, reprising their program of songs in Spanish.

Pablo Sáinz-Villegas has been acclaimed by the international press for his “virtuous and moving performance, with an irresistible exuberance and a range of bright colors” (The New York Times). Since his debut at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic, he has become a benchmark in today’s symphonic guitar, playing with conductors and orchestras such as the Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto, and Israel Philharmonics; and the National Orchestra of France and Spain. Pablo has also performed in historic venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the National Auditorium in Madrid; and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo. His milestones include his interpretation of the Aranjuez concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and its principal conductor Kirill Petrenko on the New Year’s concert broadcast in Europe by the television channel ARTE, the Princess of Asturias Awards Concert, and his participation in the Metropolitan Opera Gala at the Palace of Versailles. He is also the creator and artistic director of La Rioja Festival, an initiative born in 2022.

In addition to his touring success, Pablo Sáinz-Villegas has been awarded more than thirty international prizes including the Andrés Segovia, the Riojan Arts Award, the RNE Critical Eye Award, and the Trelles Villademoros awarded by the Royal Body of the Nobility of the Principality of Asturias. He is also Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of La Rioja and has made numerous world premieres including the first work written for guitar by John Williams.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, is located at 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Ticket prices start at $28 and are available at the Philharmonic Society box office at (949) 553-2422, online at, and at the Center box office at (714) 556-2787. A limited number of box seats are also available for purchase. Call for pricing and availability.

Founded in 1954 as Orange County’s first music organization, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County presents national and international performances of the highest quality and provides dynamic and innovative music education programs for individuals of all ages to enhance the lives of Orange County audiences through music.

Since its inception, the Philharmonic Society has evolved and grown with the county’s changing landscape, presenting artists and orchestras who set the standard for artistic achievement from Itzhak Perlman, Gustavo Dudamel, Yo-Yo Ma, and Renée Fleming to the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and many others. In addition, the Philharmonic Society celebrates multi-disciplinary performances under its Eclectic Orange brand and embraces music from a wide range of countries with its World Music performances. Its celebrated family concerts introduce children to classical music with creative and inspiring performances, instilling music appreciation for future generations.

The Philharmonic Society’s nationally recognized Youth Music Education Programs, offered free of charge, engage more than 100,000 students annually through curriculum-based music education programs that aim to inspire, expand imaginations, and encourage learning at all levels. These programs are made possible by the Committees of the Philharmonic Society comprised of 500 volunteer members who provide more than 90,000 hours of in-kind service each year. As a key youth program, the exceptional Orange County Youth Symphony and String Ensemble provide toptier training to the area’s most talented young musicians through multi-level ensemble instruction, leadership training, touring opportunities, challenging professional repertoire, and performances in world-class venues. The Philharmonic Society also promotes life-long learning by connecting with colleges and universities to conduct masterclasses and workshops and providing pre-concert lectures to introduce audiences to program selections.


Adaora Onyebeke

(949) 553-2422, ext. 105


Marie Songco-Torres

(949) 553-2422, ext. 230