Faculty Profile

Alicia Berneche

NMS Voice Faculty
Voice Faculty


ALICIA BERNECHE has been celebrated throughout her career as a singer who brings new compositions to life with a unique sound, technical acuity, and an extraordinary acting ability. She also excels in the standard repertoire, bringing a sublime bel canto style and fresh interpretation. 

Alicia Berneche came to fame replacing Dawn Upshaw in THE GREAT GATSBY for Lyric Opera of Chicago, which then took her to the Metropolitan Opera. She also performed as Galileo's daughter in the world premiere of Mary Zimmerman and Philip Glass' new opera GALILEO GALILEI at the Goodman Theatre, BAM, and the Barbican in London. She created the role of Lydia Larkspur in the world premiere of THE RIVALS by Kirke Meechem for Skylight Opera Theatre, originated the role of First Spirit in Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, Helen Niles in Lyric's newly refigured production of MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA, and the world premiere of two roles in the critically and commercially successful opera BALLYMORE by Richard Wargo. Recent productions include Agnes Gooch in MAME with Light Opera Works, a company for which Ms. Berneche has performed ten leading roles, and Rosalinda in DIE FLEDERMAUS. She also had the World Premiere of her opera THANK YOU, NEXT! at Milwaukee Opera Theatre, for which her libretto received rave reviews.

Her standard repertoire performances include the title role of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, Marie in LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT, Adina in L'ELISIR D'AMORE, Cunegonda in CANDIDE, Norina in DON PASQUALE, Juliette in ROMÉO ET JULIETTE, Musetta and Mimi in LA BOHÈME, Olympia and Antonia in LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN, Rosalinda and Adele in DIE FLEDERMAUS, Gretel in HANSEL UND GRETEL, Susanna in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Despina in COSI FAN TUTTE, and the heroines of most of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas at LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO, AUSTIN LYRIC OPERA, PORTLAND OPERA, KENTUCKY OPERA, OPERA PACIFIC, SARASOTA OPERA, ARIZONA OPERA, ORLANDO OPERA, VIRGINIA OPERA, MADISON OPERA, OPERA FESTIVAL OF NEW JERSEY, and PIEDMONT OPERA. Ms. Berneche has toured extensively in the U.K. and Austria.

Ms. Berneche is often called upon to perform extremely difficult works. Aaron Jay Kernis conducted her in Jacob Druckman's COUNTERPOISE and his own GOBLIN MARKET with Chicago Chamber Musicians. Also with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Ms. Berneche performed the devilishly difficult  Schoenberg's Second String Quartet and the world premiere of Bright Sheng's HE SAID/SHE SAID, and also sang Szymanowski's stratospheric SONGS OF A FAIRY TALE PRINCESS with the Chicago Symphonietta. She was featured numerous times with the CUBE ensemble presenting many world premieres, including a song cycle composed for her by Drew Hemenger, Which Way Is Home, with poems by Anne Sexton. She and CUBE often collaborate on the radio in Chicago on WFMT, pushing the boundaries of the human voice in their repertoire choices. She was honored to sing CARMINA BURANA with world-renowned Maestro Osmo Vänskä, and also appeared with the Honolulu Symphony in Mozart's Great Mass in C minor and Requiem, and in Orff's Carmina Burana. 

On a whim, she started taking voice lessons her senior year of high school, and found that she could combine her two loves, music and acting, into opera. From there she majored in Vocal Performance at DePauw University and her career skyrocketed to the Lyric Opera of Chicago right out of graduate school at Peabody Conservatory. Ms. Berneche was a member of the Ryan Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, in which she covered and performed in over twenty-three productions. At the same time, she was a winner of numerous competitions, most noted are Second Place of the Eleanor McCollum Competition at Houston Grand Opera, finalist numerous times of the MacAllister Competition, and Third Place in the Jenny Lind Competition, and a regional winner in the New York Region of the Metropolitan Opera Competition.