Artist Of The Week: Karen Slack

American Soprano To World Premiere New Opera

By Francisco Salazar

This week, Terrence Blanchard will present his second opera “Fire Shut Up in My Bones.” The work is set to world premiere at the Opera Theater Saint Louis and soprano Karen Slack will be headlining the production.

In recent years the American soprano has garnered acclaim for her work in contemporary opera and distinguished herself for her powerful voice. Her upcoming work with Blanchard will be her second time working with the composer. They collaborated together on “Champion,” and as a result, Blanchard wrote the role of Bille-Mother for the Slack.

In a recent interview with OperaWire, the soprano noted that she enjoyed working with a living composer and there were many gratifying moments to the work. “It’s amazing to work with a living composer because if something doesn’t work, he changes it. Blanchard is so humble and as a singer many times you have to do what’s asked of you by the conductor or what’s on the score. And it’s amazing to work with living composer’s like Jake Heggie, who will change a key for me and works with my voice. It’s very refreshing and takes a weight off of me. It’s freeing and I love the collaborative spirit.”

For Slack this will be the second world premiere of the season and having been praised for her work with the Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis audiences are in for another tour de force performance from the American diva.


Slack is recognized for her role as Serena in “Porgy and Bess” and she has a recording from the San Francisco Opera of the work.

Here she is performing an excerpt from “Porgy and Bess.”



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