Hailed for possessing a voice of extraordinary beauty, a seamless legato and great dramatic depth, American soprano Karen Slack has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera where she made her debut in the title role of Verdi’s Luisa Miller, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, and San Francisco Opera. In recent seasons, she has appeared as Alice Ford in Falstaff, Leonora in Il trovatore and Tosca with Arizona Opera, as Aïda at Austin Opera, Emelda Griffith in Champion with New Orleans Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Nashville Opera, Violetta in La Traviata with Sacramento Opera and Sister Rose in Dead Man Walking with both Minnesota Opera and Vancouver Opera and her Scottish Opera debut as Anna in Puccini’s Le villi. Additionally, Ms. Slack portrayed a featured role as the Opera Diva in Tyler Perry’s movie and soundtrack “For Colored Girls.” Ms. Slack is an Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera, Co-Director for the 2020-21 Opera Program at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, and Co-Chair of the Women’s Opera Network with Opera America.
Ms. Slack’s 2019-2020 season included a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Serena in Porgy and Bess, a recital with Opera Philadelphia, guest soloist for Madison Opera’s virtual Opera in the Park, and a series of recitals throughout the US including the Vilar Center for the Performing Arts in Vail, Colorado with pianist Joe Illick. This season sees her in digital performances with Opera Philadelphia, Houston Grand Opera, Madison Opera, and Minnesota Opera. Additionally, she stars in Driving While Black with UrbanArias. In response to the rash of cancellations due to COVID19, Ms. Slack launched a digital talk show, #KikiKonversations, which has garnered critical acclaim and thousands of views.
Other recent performances include the title role in Tosca with Opera Birmingham, Addie Parker in Yardbird with Arizona Opera, Sister Rose in Dead Man Walking with Atlanta Opera, Serena in Porgy and Bess with Fort Worth Opera, and her debut with Opera Theatre of St. Louis as Billie in Terence Blanchard and Kasi Lemmons’ Fire Shut Up in My Bones. In concert, she was a soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra in the world premiere of Hannibal Lokumbe’s Healing Tones with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Union Symphony Orchestra for Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder.
Equally at home on the concert stage, Ms. Slack has performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mahler’s 2nd Symphony and the Verdi Requiem with various orchestras throughout the US. Abroad she has appeared with the Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestras, and most recently, with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in celebration of the 80th birthday of Mo. Yuri Temirkanov. She made her Carnegie Hall debut as Agnes Sorel in Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans with the Orchestra of St. Lukes and will return in Spring 2022 with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for Beethoven’s Egmont. Additional upcoming engagements for the 2021-2022 season include her stage debut with the Houston Grand Opera in the world premiere of Joel Thompson and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s A Snowy Day, a recital with pianist Alan Morrison at Atlanta’s Spivey Hall including the World Premiere of a new work by American composer Adolphus Halistork, Verdi’s Requiem with the Highlander Concert Series at the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and a concert of arias with Omaha Symphony in collaboration with Opera Omaha.
A graduate of the Adler Fellowship and Merola Opera Program at the San Francisco Opera, the native Philadelphian is also a graduate of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. She is a winner of numerous competitions and awards: most notably the Montserrat Caballe International Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the George London Foundation Award, the Marian Anderson ICON Award, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, the Rosa Ponselle International Vocal Competition, the Portland Opera Lieber Award, the Liederkranz Foundation Award and the Jose Iturbi International Competition for Voice.