With a velvety tone and a stage presence which exudes confidence and charm, baritone Levi Hernandez is gaining momentum as a sought after artist on the operatic stage. Mark Thomson Ketterson of Opera News declared of his principal debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Dandini in La cenerentola ,“Young baritone Levi Hernandez’s intelligent Dandini displayed a most impressive knack for subtle text-painting within a pristinely negotiated coloratura line…”
Recently the El Paso native made his Houston Grand Opera debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly next to Ana Maria Martinez and Joseph Calleja; he also joined the rosters of San Francisco Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in their productions of Puccini’s Il trittico and Fanciulla del West. In the 2012-2013 season Mr. Hernandez returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Carmen, revisits Sharpless with Nashville Opera, appears with Opera Memphis as Marcello in La bohème, sings Handel’s Messiah with the El Paso Symphony, and performs the role of Guglielmo in Puccini’s Le Villi with the Spoleto Festival, USA. Mr. Hernandez will return to the Opera Theater of St. Louis in 2014 as Papageno in The Magic Flute. In the 2011-12 season Levi sang Tobias Mill in Rossini’s La Cambiale di Matrimonio with Opera Omaha, reprised the role of Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Minnesota Opera and Intermountain Opera, and appeared in concert singing Handel’s Messiah with both the Phoenix Symphony and the Pennsylvania Ballet. He made his European debut in the Komishe Oper Berlin production of Pique Dame in the role of Tomski.
Other recent engagements include Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Virginia Opera, Lake George Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera, his debut with the Opera Theater of St. Louis as Leporello in Don Giovanni, his return to Opera North as Dandini in La cenerentola, Valentin in Faust with The Kalamazoo Symphony, and his return to Los Angeles Opera as Don Lucas in Luisa Fernanda. Engagements for the 2007-2008 season included Marcello in San Antonio Opera’s La bohème, Schaunard in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s La bohème, appearances with Cheyenne Symphony for the Messiah, and Sciarrone in Tosca and Crébillon in La rondine with Los Angeles Opera.
A recent alumnus of the Lyric Opera center for American Artists Mr. Hernandez made his Lyric Opera mainstage debut during the 2004-05 season. During his tenure at Lyric he was also seen as Marullo in Rigoletto, Sciarrone in Tosca, the Innkeeper in Manon Lescaut, and the Bartender in the world premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding. A versatile actor as well as a fine singer Hernandez portrayed the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the 2004 Grant Park Music Festival. Other career highlights include Marcello La bohème for El Paso Opera, Papageno with Madison Opera in their Die Zauberflöte, performances in Boston Lyric Opera’s productions of Carmen and Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Moralès in Carmen, and Haly in L’italiana in Algeri, all with Opera Company of Philadelphia.
Mr. Hernandez has been seen on the concert stage as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Charlotte Symphony and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Pennsylvania Ballet. A 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards finalist his many awards include a Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation grant as well as being a 2002 OPERALIA competition finalist. After receiving his undergraduate degree at Westminster Choir College Mr. Hernandez attended the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where he performed a number of leading roles including Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Marcello in La bohème, Ford in Falstaff, Gugliemo in Così fan tutte, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Vicar in Albert Herring and Falke in Die Fledermaus.