Black American soprano Zyda Culpepper looks forward to her recital tour of "O Thou Bright Jewel", a program solely featuring women of the African diaspora. This recital tour is programed in partnership with Classical Uncorked of Washington (Fall 2023). She made her Annapolis Opera debut as Nomi in the world-premiere of Sunder (August 2021), a new chamber opera by Nailah Nombeko and Alicia Haymer. As a featured artist with Indictus Project, Zyda made the first known recording of George Bridgetower’s extant vocal work, “Henry, A Ballad”. Zyda has been a featured soloist in St. John United Methodist Church’s Concert with a Cause in Augusta, GA. She is an Adjunct Professor of Music Appreciation at Georgia Military College and maintains a private voice and piano studio in the Augusta area. As an activist who is passionate about racial equity and justice, Zyda is an active member of Black Opera Alliance (BOA) where she served on the Leadership Council and as a Research Assistant during BOA's partnership with TRG Arts. During her two-year term as Leadership Council for BOA, she was a panelist for Opera America's webinar: The Dimensions of Demographic Research, a featured speaker for Black Women in Opera Festival, and served on the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access Committee for her alma mater, The University of Alabama’s School of Music.
A recent alumna of the Maryland Opera Studio (MM 2019), she was seen in mainstage performances as Greta Fiorentino in Street Scene, Jessie in Mahagonny Songspiel, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro. She has covered Soeur Constance in Dialogues des Carmelites and Servilia in La clemenza di Tito. She also originated the role of Sarah Palmer in the world-premiere of E.M. Lewis and Theo Popov’s Town Hall. She performed with UMD’s Bach Cantata Series as a soloist in Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ (BWV 91). In scenes performances, she was seen as Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas and Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw. She was a participant in the public masterclass led by Tamara Wilson during her artist residency with the Clarice Performing Arts Center at UMD. Zyda has been the proud recipient of awards from NATS and Vann Vocal Institute. After graduating with her Master’s degree, Zyda returned to the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro as a young artist with Chicago Summer Opera.
In previous seasons, Zyda has performed the roles of Anne Reich in Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Angelina in Trial By Jury, and The Lady Angela in Patience. She originated the role of Caroline in the world-premiere of Amir Zaheri’s Freedom and Fire! A Civil War Story. In scenes performances, she was seen as Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, Clorinda in La Cenerentola, and Lisette in La rondine. During her undergraduate career, Zyda was a featured soloist with the Huxford Symphony Orchestra at The University of Alabama. She graduated with her BM in Voice Performance and Italian Languages/Cultures from The University of Alabama.