Lyric Opera Of Chicago Names Karen Slack As Its Newest Artist-in-Residence

Karen Slack, who made her Lyric debut in the 2014/15 Season as Serena in Porgy and Bess, brings a vibrant array of experiences and accolades to her new role.

By: May. 21, 2024
Lyric Opera Of Chicago Names Karen Slack As Its Newest Artist-in-Residence
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Soprano Karen Slack has been apointed as Lyric Unlimited's Artist-in-Residence for the 2024/25 Season. This residency, directed by Lyric Unlimited under the leadership of Vice President Afton Battle, highlights Lyric's commitment to expanding the reach of opera to wider audiences.

Lyric Unlimited's Artist-in-Residence program collaborates with a broad spectrum of artists—ranging from singers to composers—to develop and present a variety of performances and programs throughout the season. More than just performers, these artists act as advocates and ambassadors for Lyric Unlimited, participating in civic activities and fostering deeper connections between Lyric and the residents of Chicago.

Karen Slack, who made her Lyric debut in the 2014/15 Season as Serena in Porgy and Bess, brings a vibrant array of experiences and accolades to her new role. Known for dynamic performances that "ripped the audience's hearts out" (Opera News), Slack is celebrated both for her compelling voice and for her substantial impact on the arts. She is hailed as "not only one of the nation's most celebrated sopranos, but a leading voice in changing and making spaces in classical music" (Trilloquy). A 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient, Slack has many roles that extend beyond the stage; she serves as an Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera, is a board member of the American Composers Orchestra and Astral Artists and holds a faculty position at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and a residency at Babson College.

"I'm thrilled to return to Chicago and embark on this journey as Lyric Unlimited's Artist-in-Residence," says Karen Slack. "Lyric Opera holds a special place in my heart, and I am honored to contribute to its legacy and work to deepen and broaden the company's civic footprint by meeting audiences where they are and helping them feel connected to the art form."

Slack's residency will feature her actively engaging in a series of performances and events, showcasing her talent and dedication to inspire and connect with audiences across a broad spectrum. Events and performances include:

  • Inaugural Performance: Slack will begin her residency by performing an aria during Lyric's annual Sunday in the Park with Lyric concert in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park on August 25, 2024.
  • OPERA Insights: Slack will host a program titled KiKi Konvos, a continuation of her popular opera-focused Facebook Live chat show #KikiKonversations. Plans include live streamed discussions and explorations of select operas in Lyric's upcoming 2024/25 Season including Beethoven's Fidelio, Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson's Blue, and Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's The Listeners.
  • Message in the Music: This project in development aims to use partnerships to explore the narratives and human stories within opera, including concerts by Slack and community forums that feature a diverse range of musical genres and stories.
  • Master Classes: Slack will be coaching master classes with local artists and students from area colleges and universities, providing educational experiences and personalized training.
  • Artist Talkbacks: These interactive sessions after select mainstage opera performances at Lyric, hosted by Slack, will allow and encourage audiences to engage with performers and gain insights into the creative process.


"We are delighted to welcome trailblazing soprano and changemaker Karen Slack back to Lyric as our Artist-in-Residence," says Afton Battle. "Her future as Lyric Unlimited's Artist-in-Residence promises to inspire, captivate, and offer points of connection for audiences throughout Chicago and the wider community. Her multifaceted approach to artistry, coupled with her unwavering commitment to excellence, ensures a residency season filled with creativity, innovation, and interaction."

More information about Artist-in-Residence program is available at: lyricopera.org/Artist-in-Residence



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