Puerto Rican soprano Zulimar López-Hernández is celebrated for her lustrous timbre and charismatic portrayals of a wide range of roles.
To begin the 2021-2022 season, Zulimar makes her debut with Arizona Opera as La Mujer in El milagro del Recuerdo, rescheduled from the COVID-19 impacted 2020-2021 season. Other recent engagements have included a recital with the Theater of the University of Puerto Rico with pianist Pedro Juan Jiméne, a return to Dayton Opera in the role of Musetta in La bohème, and a workshop of Paola Prestini’s Edward Tulane. Minnesota Opera’s world premiere production of that piece, in which Zulimar was slated to create the roles of Abilene and Betty, was unfortunately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as was a performance of Conexiones Puerto Rico with the Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia.
The soprano’s 2018-2019 season included performances with Des Moines Metro Opera, singing Tina in Flight for their summer festival, as Maria in West Side Story for the 50th anniversary of the Newport Music Festival, a return to Utah Opera, singing Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, with the Evansville Philharmonic in concert as Maria in West Side Story, and with Dayton Opera for their New Year’s Eve gala performance.
Additional engagements have included Jonathan Dawes’ Nero and the Rise and Fall of Lehman Brothers, singing Poppea at the Italian Academy NYC, an appearance with Grand Junction Symphony for a suite of music from West Side Story, and a performance at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico of Mozart’s Requiem. The 2015-2016 season saw Ms. López-Hernández return to the role of Musetta in Virginia Opera’s La bohème, as well as Susanna in Utah Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro. In concert, she appeared as the soprano soloist with the Eugene Ballet for Orff’s Carmina Burana.
In 2014-2015, the soprano returned to Knoxville Opera as Micaëla in Carmen, made her Nashville Opera debut as Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas, and also returned to Annapolis Opera as Despina in Così fan tutte. She closed the season with Des Moines Metro Opera as Beatriz in Rappaccini’s Daughter.
The 2013-2014 season brought an important debut with the Royal Albert Hall in London as Musetta in La bohème, as well as a concert appearance with Dayton Opera and her first Violetta in La traviata with Union Avenue Opera. She was also engaged by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, covering Despina in Così fan tutte under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.
The artist returned to Des Moines Metro Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni in summer 2012. Following these performances, she debuted with Opera Memphis as Musetta in La bohème. The spring of 2013 included performances of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro for her debut with Dayton Opera, and a debut with Opera Santa Barbara for Norina in Don Pasquale, which she then also performed with Nickel City Opera in Buffalo, New York.
The 2011-2012 season found the soprano in her company and role debut with Knoxville Opera, as Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Musetta in La bohème with Opera Grand Rapids, and covering Despina in Così fan tutte for New York City Opera. In March 2011, Ms. López-Hernández made her debut as Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro with Annapolis Opera. Following this, she performed Nannetta in Falstaff with Mannes Opera, before her debut with Des Moines Metro Opera as Norina in Don Pasquale.
Ms. López-Hernández was the Third Place winner in the 2010 Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition. A National Semifinalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2006, and a Gulf Coast Regional Finalist in 2008, she was also awarded Radio Choice Audience Favorite in the 2007 Academy of Vocal Arts Giargiari Bel Canto Competition in Philadelphia. In 2009 she was a finalist in the Greenfield Philadelphia Orchestra Competition.
The soprano was a Young American Artist at Glimmerglass Opera during the summer of 2010, where she covered the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. While there, she transported audience members with a recital of Strauss, Debussy, Greer and Obradors. In the 2009-2010 season, Ms. López-Hernández made her debut with Syracuse Opera in their production of Mark Adamo’s Little Women, where she sang the role of Beth. She also worked with renowned coach Margo Garrett on the Mannes Recital Series and Evening of Songs. In spring 2010, Ms. López sang the role of Despina in Così fan tutte, with Mannes Opera under the baton of Maestro Joseph Colaneri.
Ms.López-Hernández began her vocal studies at the University of Puerto Rico. As part of the UPR Opera Workshops she performed the roles of Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Gilda in Rigoletto and Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann. Ms. López-Hernández took the stage as soprano soloist in the world premiere of The New Millennium Symphony by Raymond Torres-Santos. Together with local opera companies in Puerto Rico, she has performed the roles of Mlle. Silberklang in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor, Juaniya in the Puerto Rican opera Los Jibaros Progresistas by M.Gonzales and Rosaura in the zarzuela Los Gavilanes. Ms. López-Hernández took the stage with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra in their 2007 Christmas Concert and in 2008 she was the soprano soloist in Handel’s Messiah, under the baton of Alan Harler.
In 2006, she began studies at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. While at AVA, Ms. López-Hernández performed the roles of Poussette in Manon, Despina in Così fan tutte and Norina in David Gately’s Wild Wild West production of Don Pasquale. Also in 2006, she covered the role of Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Opera New Jersey.
Ms. López-Hernández holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Puerto Rico and an Artist Diploma from the Academy of Vocal Arts.
Utah Opera – Le nozze di Figaro
López-Hernández’s acting — through her sparkling voice, movement and facial expressions — was flawless.”
Catherine Reese Newton, The Salt Lake Tribune
“Lopez-Hernandez was an absolute delight as Susanna. Her singing was bright and full, and her acting was tender, without stepping into naivete. Her Susanna was smart, intuitive, warm and proud, but never brash.”
Sara Neal, The Utah Review
“Baritone Seth Carico as Figaro and soprano Zulimar López-Hernández as Susanna led the impressive cast. The handsome, young couple achieved a charmingly palpable chemistry, and their ability to best the lecherous Count Almaviva was never in doubt. They possessed an energy and physicality that left one wondering how they maintained such wonderfully spun vocal focus.”
Robert Coleman, Opera News
Eugene Ballet – Carmina Burana
Soloist soprano Zulimar López-Hernández delights with her range and delivery.”
Rachael Carnes, Eugene Weekly
Virginia Opera – La bohème
Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez showed fine nuance in her portrayal of the mercurial Musetta …[her] flirty, facile soprano and pouty persona sold the consummate diva aria.”
B.J. Atkinson, Hamtponroads.com
Des Moines Metro Opera – Rappaccini’s Daughter
As the ill-fated daughter of the title, Zulimar López-Hernández offered radiant singing as Beatriz. Ms. López-Hernández is[sic] possessed of a lustrous soprano, with a rich middle register and a capability of glinting thrust in the role’s higher reaches. While she can also float effortless pianissimi, her exciting delivery is just on the verge of spinto territory. She is an artist to watch.”
James Sohre, Opera Today
Knoxville Opera – Carmen
…Soprano Zulimar López-Hernández, seen before by Knoxville audiences as Juliette in the 2012 production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, needed no assistance in standing out as a lovely Micaëla. Ms. López-Hernández’s voice seemed made for the role, light and lyrically luscious, but with a penetrating strength that effortlessly supports her phrasing.”
Alan Sherrod, Arts Knoxville
“There are real stars, of course, not the least of which is Zulimar López-Hernández, who turns the minor role of Micaëla, essentially a messenger, into a stellar performance with superb singing.”
Harold Duckett, Knoxville News Sentinel
Union Avenue Opera – La traviata
…López-Hernández didn’t shy away from the role’s daunting coloratura passages — her lilting voice by turns ethereal, lighthearted and haunting — as Violetta is torn between her life of pleasure and her need to be loved.”
Malcom Gay, Riverfront Times
As Violetta, the courtesan dying of love and tuberculosis, soprano Zulimar López-Hernández has a spectacular voice that manages the coloratura flash of “Sempre libera” as easily as the delicate lyricism of “Un dì felice,” the amorous Act I duet with Alfredo. Better yet she acts the role with total conviction—her death scene is a certified tearjerker—and she certainly looks like the kind of woman who might be the toast of Paris. The standing ovation for her during the curtain call was both enthusiastic and well deserved.”
Chuck Lavazzi, kdhx.org
Soprano Zulimar López-Hernández, who had had many roles in mostly Midwestern opera companies, makes her UAO debut as Violetta, a courtesan. She looked spectacular in sparkling white and lurid red gowns, and has a voice to match. With just the right touch of vibrato, it has a richness that fills the room powerfully, without being strident or overwhelming. Her character is on stage most of the time, but she didn’t seem tired or stressed. Plus her acting was completely convincing.”
John Huxhold, The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch
Nickel City Opera – Don Pasquale
Soprano Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez, as Norina, is gorgeous and has an admirable star quality. Her voice is robust and commanding, and up to Donizetti’s considerable demands.”
Mary Kunz Goldman, The Buffalo News
Opera Santa Barbara – Don Pasquale
Highest praise, however, should be reserved for the soprano Zulimar López-Hernández, who dazzled in the multifaceted role of Norina/Sophronia. Her transformations from a lover to a shy young woman just out of the convent to a spendthrift shrew and back again were a joy to behold.”
Charles Donelan, Santa Barbara Independent
Fundación de Zarzuela y Operetta – Los Gavilanes
López was perfect as the ingénue Rosaura with her light lyrical soprano, which expresses her youth and emerging passion with subtlety.”
Peggy Ann Bliss, Puerto Rico Daily Sun
Des Moines Metro Opera – Don Giovanni
…and Zulimar López-Hernández, the Zerlina, emerged as a real person, not a cardboard coquette.”
Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News
Opera Grand Rapids – La bohème
The heat comes courtesy of Musetta and Marcello, a pair of well-matched flame throwers in Zulimar López-Hernández and Corey McKern.
“López-Hernández, as Musetta, is brassy and ballsy, not the clever coquette but a take-charge type with her elderly paramour, Alcindoro. Supplied with a lithe voice, her character grows the most from frivolous flirt to faithful friend who turns to prayer in the hour of need.”
Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, The Grand Rapids Press
Knoxville Opera – Roméo et Juliette
And the soprano López-Hernández is frighteningly good. One has the instinct that she exercises a staggering degree of control over an instrument that could shatter windshields should she so choose. Yet that control is effortless, and the results are always a joy to hear.”
Mike Gibson, Knoxville News Sentinel
Also making a KO debut as Juliette was soprano Zulimar López-Hernández…Juliette’s Act I waltz, the famous “Je veux vivre,” gave the soprano a chance to show a voice that, while not overly imposing, was full of gentle, subtle detail defined by lyrical clarity and bolstered by surprising reserves of vocal strength. Her Act IV bedchamber-potion aria was deeply affecting.”
Alan Sherrod, Metro Pulse
Des Moines Metro Opera – Don Pasquale
Soprano Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez displayed a scintillating trill for Norina’s ‘So anch’io la virtu magica’.”
Mark Thomas Ketterson, Opera News
López-Hernández (also making her first appearance here)…brought her considerable charm and spot-on coloratura to Norina’s enchanting music.”
Bruce, Carr, The Des Moines Register
Mannes Opera – Falstaff
Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez was a bright, pretty Nannetta who found her shining moment in her address to the wood spirits, the last phrase taken in one perfectly poised breath.”
Fred Cohn, Opera News Online
Annapolis Opera – Le nozze di Figaro
Susanna, created by Zulimar López-Hernández in her bright Annapolis Opera debut, was a fine match for Figaro. She displayed a lovely soprano and winning acting skills, especially as she bested the untrusting Figaro at his own game.”
Mary Johnson, Baltimore Sun
Eagle-eyed readers will note that I have avoided any mention of the Susanna up to now. She is the one main character whose level of vocal prowess remained constant from start to finish. From her strong entrance in the Act I interplay with her husband-to-be, Figaro, through her schemes, tricks, and observations on life and men, Ms. Lopez-Hernandez gave as close to an ideal reading of this complex character as any I have seen. Her singing was superb, from the gorgeous blending of her voice with the Countess, Colleen Daly, to her own lovely little arias where she artfully spun the ends of phrases out delicately and strikingly.”
David Lindauer, The Capital
Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition
The third prize of $6,000 went to soprano Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez, who exhibited a lustrous timbre…”
Lawrence Budmen, South Florida Classical Review
Little Women – Syracuse Opera
Soprano Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez as Beth captured the character’s ingrained kindness and love for her older sister, Jo, who is all too well aware of what she has lost when Beth dies”.
Wayne Myers, NY Cultural Arts Examiner
Academy of Vocal Arts – Don Pasquale
Who can resist the charms of Zulimar Lopez-Hernandez’s Norina (aka ‘Sofronia’), whether she’s working a prairie skirt, opera gown or holstered corset. She can handle high Cs and High Noon as cool as Clint, proving there‘s nothing quite like a gun slinging soprano.”
Rosalba’s excerpts from Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas