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Soprano Karen Slack Announces Season Highlights

Highlights include her debut with The Dallas Opera as Freia in Das Rheingold, the world premiere of Shawn Okpebholo's Songs in Flight, and more.

Karen Slack has announced her 2022-2023 season, featuring an expansive range of programming spanning the recital, orchestral, and operatic worlds. Highlights include her debut with The Dallas Opera as Freia in Das Rheingold; the world premiere of Shawn Okpebholo's Songs in Flight, developed by Sparks & Wiry Cries, alongside singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Kimmel Center; performances in Austin and Portland with the Miró Quartet; a recital in Fort Worth with pianist Michelle Cann and at Cal Poly Arts with organist Alan Morrison; performing as featured soloist with the Nashville Symphony and Oklahoma City Philharmonic in two different world premieres by Hannibal Lokumbe; Beethoven's Egmont at Carnegie Hall with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Fresno Philharmonic; and titled roles in productions at Portland Opera and Edmonton Opera. She also continues her roles as Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera and Co-Chair of the Women's Opera Network with Opera America.

Slack appeared in musical selections from Terence Blanchard's "magnetically powerful" (NPR) Fire Shut up In My Bones with Turtle Island Quartet in a presentation by SF Jazz on August 6 and 7, 2022. She closes her summer in New York's Finger Lakes for two performances with the Catalyst Quartet at the Skaneateles Festival on August 18-19, 2022.

From September 12-15, 2022, she joins the Miró Quartet for a residency at the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music as part of their Con Brio: Acclaimed Visitor Series. Residency activities include masterclasses and a public performance of Florence Price, Sylvie Bodorová, Puccini, William Grant Still, and Margaret Bonds on September 15.

On September 29, 2022, Opera Philadelphia's Opera on Film Festival presents a screening of Du'Bois and Camry A'Keen's 2021 adaptation of Susan Kander and Roberta Gumbel's one-woman dwb (driving while black), featuring Slack as the Mother, at the Philadelphia Film Center.

Slack then heads to Canada to perform the title role in Edmonton Opera's season-opening production of Tosca on October 22, 25, and 28, 2022, the first staging in Joel Ivany's new role as Artistic Director.

Karen Slack and fellow 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence-recipient, pianist Michelle Cann, join forces to perform a special new recital, My Sister's Keeper, on November 13, 2022 presented by Fort Worth Opera. Of this new program, Slack says, "When Michelle and I recorded Florence Price and Margaret Bonds songs during the height of the pandemic for the ONEComposer organization, we had no idea how special that session would be. It truly was magical! Each of us are big fans of the other's art and it was at that moment we decided to commit to making music together as much as possible. We are extremely excited to bring this thoughtfully curated program, which represents what both Michelle and I strive to do on and off the stage: give voice and the spotlight to female composers who have too often been left out of the recital and concert hall."

On January 12, 2023 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Karen Slack performs in MetLiveArts' world premiere of Songs in Flight, a program by composer Shawn Okpebholo and Duke University professor and poet Dr. Tsitsi Ella Jaji that was inspired by Cornell Universities "Freedom on the Move," a database of "runaway ads" collected from early newspapers in the United States. These ads placed by enslavers preserve snapshots of more than 30,000 enslaved people who took their fates into their own hands, liberating themselves from a cruel, ugly cycle whose effects ripple to this day. Songs in Flight, conceived and commissioned by Sparks & Wiry Cries, brings these individual stories to life through song, paired with additional material curated and performed by Grammy and MacArthur Award winning musician Rhiannon Giddens, poet Crystal Simone Smith, and poet and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tyehimba Jess. Slack will also be joined by Giddens, countertenor Reginald Mobley, baritone Will Liverman, and pianist Howard Watkins.

Songs in Flight will receive its Philadelphia premiere on January 15, 2023 at the Kimmel Center, co-presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Sparks and Wiry Cries.

Slack makes her house debut at The Dallas Opera as Freia in Wagner's Das Rheingold from February 10-18, 2023. Music Director Emmanuel Villaume conducts a new production that originated at The Atlanta Opera. Nicholas Brownlee will perform as Wotan alongside Amanda Echalaz as Fricka.

Slack joins the Miró Quartet for a program at Portland Ovations on March 18, 2023. Their performance features Barber, Margaret Bonds, Florence Price, Tamar-kali, George Walker, William Grant Still, and Stephen Taylor.

On April 13, 14, 15, and 16, 2023, Slack performs among a cast of six vocalists, nine actors, a full chorus, a jazz quartet, and an African drumming ensemble in the Nashville Symphony's world premiere commission, Hannibal Lokumbe's The Jonah People: A Legacy of Struggle and Triumph.

Less than one month later, on May 13, 2023, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic presents the world premiere of Lokumbe's Trials, Tears, Transcendence: The Journey of Clara Luper with Karen Slack as featured soloist. The piece shares the story of Oklahoma-native Clara Luper, a pioneering leader in the American Civil Rights Movement.

Slack reprises her role as the featured vocalist in a new translation of Beethoven's Egmont with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on May 20, 2023. In 2020, she performed the piece alongside actor/narrator Liev Schreiber in Orpheus's Speaking Truth to Power program released by livestream platform Idagio. The Carnegie program also features Orpheus and baritone Will Liverman in a selection of spirituals to honor singer-activist Paul Robeson.

On May 26, 2023, Portland Opera presents a special one-night event, ABSENCE: Terence Blanchard, featuring Artistic Advisor Karen Slack with the E Collective and Turtle Island Quartet. Jazz great and celebrated opera composer Terence Blanchard will be in attendance for this musical celebration of his work.

Cal Poly Arts presents Slack and organist Alan Morrison on June 2, 2023 as part of their Forbes Organ Series at Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo.

Finally, Slack closes her 2022-2023 season with a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Damian Geter's Justice Symphony with the Fresno Philharmonic on June 11, 2023.

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