Hailed by critics for possessing a lustrous voice of extraordinary beauty and artistry of great dramatic depth American soprano Karen Slack has performed with major conductors in opera houses and concert halls around the world. She was most recently seen in Aïda with Austin Opera, as Alice Ford in Falstaff with Arizona Opera, and as Emelda Griffith in the West Coast premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Champion with San Francisco’s Opera Parallele, Litton’s Porgy and Bess Suite at the Bergen Festival in Norway, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Lexington Philharmonic, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with both Quad City Symphony and Alabama Symphony, and a house debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Serena in Francesca Zambello’s production of Porgy and Bess, which she has performed at both Washington National Opera and San Francisco Opera. She can be seen reprising the role of Serena in San Francisco Opera’s production that was released on DVD in 2015.
Other recent engagements include the title role of Tosca and Leonora in Il trovatore, both with Arizona Opera; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 on the Curtis Institute of Music Alumni Series; Sister Rose in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with both Madison Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera; and was a guest soloist with the Lexington Chamber Music Festival. She has also appeared in Verdi’s Aïda with Lyric Opera of Kansas City and West Bay Opera, Cilla in Richard Danielpour’s Margret Garner with Michigan Opera Theatre; Agnes Sorel in Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans with San Francisco Opera and at Carnegie Hall; Violetta in La traviata with both Sacramento Opera and West Bay Opera, and in 2006, stepped in to make her Metropolitan Opera debut and international broadcast debut in the title role of Verdi’s Luisa Miller.
Equally at home in concert repertoire, Ms. Slack has been seen in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Spokane, Cincinnati, Phoenix, Italy, Gibraltar, and Munich; in Australia as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello with the Melbourne Symphony; as soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Latvian National Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem with both Madison Symphony and the Sacramento Choral Society, Vaughn Williams’ Dona nobis pacem with both Albany ProMusica Symphony, and Sacramento Choral Society; and as a guest artist recital at Jackson State University. A 2004 graduate of the San Francisco Opera’s Adler Fellowship program, she was awarded a Schwabacher Debut Recital, and was seen as Madame Arkadina in Pasatieri’s The Seagull and as Madeleine in the final scene from Strauss’ Capriccio. After her summer with the Merola Opera Program in 2002, she was invited to sing Mimì in Western Opera Theater’s National Tour of La bohème. A native of Philadelphia and a graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. She is also an alumna of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program and the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival.
At age 18, Karen was the youngest winner in the history of the Rosa Ponselle International Competition for the Vocal Arts held in New York’s Alice Tully Hall. Since then she has gone on to win numerous competitions and receive many vocal awards including the George London Award, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Montserrat Caballe International Competition, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Marian Anderson ICON Award, Liederkranz Award, Astral Artist, Florida Grand Opera Competition, Portland Opera Lieber Competition and has received the grand prize in the first annual Jose Iturbi International Competition for Voice held in Los Angeles.
Upcoming engagements include a debut Nashville Opera as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Serena in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with Sydney Symphony (Australia), Philadelphia Chamber Music Society recital with flutist Julietta Curenton, Sister Rose in Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Verdi’s Requiem with Canton Symphony, and another debut as Anna in Puccini’s Le villi with Scottish Opera.