“As Don Magnifico, Cinderella’s conniving stepfather, baritone Levi Hernandez was a perfect combination of oafish selfishness, comical pomposity and oblivious boorishness. He has a gorgeous timber, effortlessly executing those lightning quick divisions with deceptive ease. Hernandez also played the starring role in one of the evening’s highlights when Don Magnifico drunkenly commandeered the wine cellar, showcasing his character’s ludicrous pretentiousness in a wonderfully funny sequence.” – Omaha World Herald
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. His 2014-2015 season includes a return to the Metropolitan opera to cover the title role in The Death of Klinghoffer and Dancaïre in Carmen, his Opera Roanoke debut as Dandini in La cenerentola, the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Intermountain Opera, and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in his debut with Pine Mountain Music Festival. Future seasons will see his return to Opera Omaha and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
The 2013-2014 season featured returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Die Frau ohne Schatten, Opera Omaha as Don Magnifico in La cenerentola, Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Papageno, the Philadelphia Ballet for Carmina Burana, and Intermountain Opera Bozeman for Germont in La traviata. In the 2012-2013 season, Mr. Hernandez returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Carmen, revisited Sharpless with Nashville Opera, appeared with Opera Memphis as Marcello in La bohème, sang Handel’s Messiah with the El Paso Symphony, and performed the role of Guglielmo in Puccini’s Le Villi with the Spoleto Festival, USA.
Other recent engagements include his European debut with Komische Oper Berlin’s Pique Dame in the role of Tomski, Tobias Mill in Rossini’s La cambiale di matrimonio with Opera Omaha, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Minnesota Opera, Intermountain Opera, Virginia Opera, Lake George Opera and Cedar Rapids Opera, his debut with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Leporello in Don Giovanni, Dandini in La cenerentola with Opera North, Marcello in San Antonio Opera’s La bohème, Schaunard in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s La bohème, Valentin in Faust with The Kalamazoo Symphony, and Don Lucas in Luisa Fernanda, Sciarrone in Tosca, and Crébillon in La rondine with Los Angeles Opera.
An alumnus of the Lyric Opera center for American Artists, Mr. Hernandez made his Lyric Opera main stage 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 the Charlotte Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and Cheyenne Symphony and in 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.