American soprano Karen Slack, hailed by critics for possessing a lustrous voice of extraordinary beauty and dramatic depth, has sung with noted conductors, leading opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world.
Slack is the featured opera soloist in Lionsgate and Tyler Perry Studios’ major motion picture and soundtrack For Colored Girls released in November 2010. Recent and upcoming engagements include Arizona Opera and Messiah Festival of the Arts in 2013 and Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2014.
Slack made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2006 in the title role of Luisa Miller and quickly followed that with performances at San Francisco Opera, Carnegie Hall, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia and Melbourne Symphony (Australia). The New York Times described her singing as “warmly expressive, especially in her brilliant top.” The Financial Times labeled her “a radiant spinto soprano.”
While a student at Curtis Institute, she was noticed by Santa Fe Opera and given a coveted place in their apprentice program. San Francisco Opera rewarded her with an invitation to participate in the Merola Opera Program and followed that with an Adler Fellowship.
Recent engagements include the role of Cilla in the American opera Margaret Garner for Michigan Opera Theater, soprano soloist for Verdi’s Requiem with Madison Symphony Orchestra, Serena in Porgy and Bess for San Francisco Opera and Washington National Opera, Violetta in La traviata for Sacramento Opera and West Bay Opera, soloist with the Cincinnati Pops and May Festival Chorus.
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.sopranokarenslack.com/
Hailed as a “radiant and confident” performer, mezzo-soprano Cherry Duke “is a singer who communicates both the music and the text impeccably.” A regular performer of concert, opera, and new music, she appeared in the world premiere of David T. Little’s opera Dog Days; on tour as a soloist with the American Spiritual Ensemble; with Indiana Repertory Theatre as Mrs. Segstrom in A Little Night Music; and at the annual OPERA America Conference in the New Works Sampler. During the 2013–14 season she performed as a guest artist with the Bay View Music Festival and Missouri Symphony Society and performed Siebel in Faust with Winter Opera Saint Louis, the Third Lady in The Magic Flute with Opera Tampa, Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri with Opera Company of Middlebury and sang Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under the direction of Gerard Schwarz with Symphoria in Syracuse, NY. The 2014–2015 season includes a return to Winter Opera Saint Louis as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro and reprises of her role of The Captain in Dog Days with Fort Worth Opera and Los Angeles Opera.
In standard opera repertoire, Cherry Duke has performed such roles as the title role in Carmen, Nerone in The Coronation of Poppea, Jo March in Little Women, Hansel in Hansel und Gretel, and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In addition, Miss Duke is frequently involved in cross-genre and brand-new music theatre works. As a soloist in several seasons of New York City Opera’s VOX concerts she sang roles in scenes from Scott Davenport Richards’ jazz opera Charlie Crosses the Nation; Don Davis’s salsa-inspired Rio de Sangre; and Gordon Beeferman’s post-modern Ratland. With Center for Contemporary Opera, she appeared in Dellaria’s The Secret Agent, in New York, France and Hungary. At Bard’s SummerScape Festival and Joe’s Pub she was featured in Carl Hancock Rux and Diedre Murray’s “cabaret opera,” The Blackamoor Angel.
As an orchestral concert soloist, Cherry Duke has performed at major venues such as Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall, and has been a featured soloist in such repertoire as Falla’s El Amor Brujo, Bach’s B-Minor Mass, St. John and St. Matthew Passions and Weihnachts-Oratorium, Beethoven’s Mass in C and Choral Fantasy, Duruflé’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Vesperes Solennes, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Vaughan-Williams’ Magnificat, several Haydn masses and Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio.
As a teacher and clinician, Cherry has served on the voice faculty of Bay View Music Festival and Innovative Music Camps. She has given master classes at University of Texas El Paso, Indiana Wesleyan University, Bethany College, Salisbury University and the University of Alabama.
A Texas native, Duke graduated summa cum laude from Texas Woman’s University. She received her graduate degree in Opera Performance from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. Cherry Duke is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, the American Guild of Musical Artists and Actor’s Equity Association.
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.cherryduke.com
John Wesley Wright
Tenor John Wesley Wright is known for his artistic and soulful interpretations of music from baroque to Broadway. Holding degrees from Maryville College and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, his diversity as an artist has afforded him, among other things, a nationally televised concert for the Belgian Royal Family as well as tours as a soloist and with professional ensembles throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan.
With a host of opera and oratorio roles, art songs, spirituals, and cabaret music in his repertoire, Wright is a member of the internationally-acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble. His signature rendition of “Here’s One” is highlighted in the PBS documentary The Spirituals: Featuring the American Spiritual Ensemble, released nationally in 2007. Most recently, Wright was guest artist at the 131st and 132nd Messiah Festival of the Arts in Lindsborg, Kansas performing Handel’s Messiah and the title role in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Wright returns to revive the St. Matthew Evangelist for the Bach Society of Dayton, the latter with whom he has made dozens of appearances over the last two decades.
Having worked with such conductors as Nicolas McGegan, Ton Koopman, and Robert Page, many of Wright’s concert career experiences have been collaborations with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Neal Gittleman. With Gittleman and the DPO he has sung the title roles of Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions, Britten’s War Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Einhorn’s Voices of Light and Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610. In May of 2011 Wright returned to Ohio and was critically acclaimed for his interpretation of the Celebrant role in Bernstein’s Mass: A Theater Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers, reviews praising his “mastery of the oratorio genre” and “impressive acting range and voice.”
John Wesley Wright is the gold medalist and top prize winner of the American Traditions Vocal Competition 2000 and has claimed top prizes from the National Federation of Music Clubs, Metropolitan Opera National Council, Bel Canto Regional Artists, Ohio’s Vocal Resource Network Art Song Competition, and the International Schubert Competition in Vienna, Austria.
A native of Rome, Georgia, Wright is coordinator of the Voice and Opera Workshop programs at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Maryland and co-director of the Broadway program at the Maryland Summer Center of the Arts. Mr. Wright is an active clinician, consultant and leader of workshops on voice production, song interpretation and African-American song tradition.
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.salisbury.edu/musicdept/faculty/wright.html
American baritone Michael Preacely is a rising star on the operatic stage and is also known for a versatile singing ability and style that allow him to cross between genres from classical repertoire to pop, contemporary, and Broadway. He has received critical acclaim for many of his performances, including Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, Scarpia in Tosca, Ford in Falstaff, Marcello in La Boheme, the High Priest in Samson and Delilah, and Porgy and Jake in Porgy and Bess. Mr. Preacely has performed with many major and regional opera houses and orchestras in the United States and abroad. Recently, Mr. Preacely completed a European tour of Porgy and Bess where he received great reviews for his performances of both Porgy and Jake. He also toured Russia in a concert series with New York-based Opera Noire, debuted with Opera Memphis in the role of Marullo with a Rigoletto Cover, and Opéra de Montréal in the role of Jake. Michael made his debut with the Butler University Symphony Orchestra opposite world-famous soprano Angela Brown in a beloved performance of the Porgy and Bess Suite. Michael has performed with Cincinnati Opera, Opera Company Philadelphia, Opera Memphis, Kentucky Opera, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, and Bohème Opera of New Jersey.
Mr. Preacely’s success on the concert stage has blossomed with some of the nation’s leading orchestras, including the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, the Greater Trenton Choral Society, and the American Spiritual Ensemble.
Mr. Preacely has received numerous accolades. He was invited under scholarship to participate in the International Vocal Arts Institute with Joan Dornemann and the VOIC Experience with Sherrill Milnes and Friends. He was the First Place Graduate Winner in the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition at the University of Kentucky and the recipient of awards in various competitions such as the National Opera Association Vocal Competition Artist Division, the Fritz and Jensen Vocal Competition, and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Currently, Mr. Preacely is working on the release of his first album, Spirituals and Hymns, followed by a series of concerts and recitals in various venues across the United States. Michael resides in Lexington, KY with his wife LeTicia and two sons, Joshua and Benjamin.
MORE INFORMATION: http://www.michaelpreacely.com/