"My mission as an artist is to make connections: Connections to an audience, connections with my colleagues, and most importantly connections to characters and ways of life other than my own."
Known for her floating high notes and rich middle range, soprano Hillary Esqueda is a versatile lyric soprano emerging in the opera scene. Described as a “powerful” and “solid” performer, Ms. Esqueda strives to incorporate her skills from dance, movement and musical theater to present realistic opera characterizations.
Hillary has performed primarily in the Chicago and NY/NJ areas. Roles performed include: Drusilla (L'incoronazione di Poppea), Popelka (Comedy on the Bridge), Marie (La Fille du Régiment), Sophie (Werther), Marzelline (Fidelio), First Lady (Magic Flute), Musetta (La Bohème) and Frasquita (Carmen). She also had the fortune to perform as a young artist and apprentice with Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, Opera Oggi, and Underworld Productions. In summer 2016 she traveled to Los Angeles for OperaWorks’ Advanced Artist Program where she explored her artistry in a four-week intensive training program culminating in two performances of an improv opera, Trump'd: Making Opera Great Again. In addition, she has sung as a chorus member with the Chicago Sinfonietta in their MLK tribute concert, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín, and with the Roosevelt Alumni Chorus performing Daphnis et Chloe. During 2020 she lent her voice to two virtual choir productions, including the premier of Immigrant Mass, performed in a fund-raising concert, dipped her toe into Polish repertoire in a CAIC masterclass led by Michael Pecak, and created a series of at home performances on YouTube.
Her passion for modern and contemporary opera led her to create two roles for composer Francis Lynch in the world premieres of For Those in Peril (Gwendolyn) and Joseph’s Gift (Mary). Aaron Hunt of Chicago Theatre Review described her performance of Mary as "appropriately serene...with a flowing and pitch-perfect voice that sets the bar high for any soprano undertaking this role in the future." Hillary also appeared in the Midwest premiere of With Blood, With Ink as legendary poet, scholar and nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz in Third Eye Theater Ensemble’s intimate store-front production. Hillary joined the company again in 2019 for their production of Darkling (Soprano Anna) by Stefan Weisman and Anna Rabinowitz. Ms. Esqueda closed the year with her role debut of Mimi in a concert reduction of La Bohème with Evanston Chamber Opera.
Hillary was a Semi-Finalist in the Orpheus Competition in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and was recently awarded Second Place in The American Prize (Women in Opera Division).
Hillary received her Bachelor’s degree in Music from NYU’s Steinhardt School and her Master’s from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Hillary currently lives in Chicago and studies with Countertenor Mark Crayton.
PC: Clint Funk
PC: Clint Funk
PC: Clint Funk
"[Ms. Esqueda] was appropriately serene...with a flowing and pitch-perfect voice that sets the bar high for any soprano undertaking this role in the future."
Chicago Theater Review
Joseph's Gift (Mary)
Immigrant Mass: A Multimedia Music Film
PREMIER: May 22, 2021
As a member of Roosevelt University's Alumni Choir, Hillary was happy to lend her voice to the creation of this "plea for understanding" that mixes the form of a traditional mass ordinary with actual immigrant experiences. In collaborations with the Chicago Composers Orchestra, University Choir, and Greg Constantine this multimedia performance by Carlos Jaquez Gonzalez has it's virtual premiere online and completely free!