Soprano Karen Kanakis is hailed for her fine vocal technique and dramatic flair. Her bright-timbered, powerful voice conveys rich emotion, displays brilliant agility, and soars to a thrilling high extension, making her ideal in both the bel canto repertoire and that of the Italian spinto soprano, particularly Verdi. Critics have called her singing “splendid,” and “engaging,” and said she “lights up the stage… timing and expressions were priceless.” “Her voice and her stage presence are a delight,” wrote a critic of her performance as Sybil in the world premiere of Hans Schaeuble’s Dorian Gray.
In March of 2020 Ms. Kanakis made her role debut as Minnie in Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West with Winter Opera Saint Louis. Her 2018-2019 season included performances of Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus with Winter Opera Saint Louis, soprano soloist in the Verdi Requiem with the Missouri Symphony, Anna in Nabucco with Union Avenue Opera, soprano soloist in the Missouri Symphony annual holiday concert, “A Symphony of Toys,” and a series of recitals in Missouri and Illinois sponsored by St. Louis Art Song. Previous operatic credits include Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Violetta in La Traviata.
Ms. Kanakis has been a featured soloist with symphony organizations performing the Verdi Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Brahms’ Ein Deutches Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah, the Mozart Requiem and Fauré Requiem (at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall), and Orff’s Carmina Burana. She is a frequently sought-after solo recitalist, and made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Weill Recital Hall in a joint recital program with her husband, baritone Jacob Lassetter. An enthusiastic performer of modern compositions, she was the American Tourist in the 2017 World Premiere of Borgia Infami, Ingram in Eric Chasalow’s The Puzzlemaster, and can be heard on American composer Brooke Joyce’s CD “Waves of Stone” on the Innova label. A District Winner and Region Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. Kanakis performed as an Apprentice Artist with both the Des Moines Metro Opera and the Utah Festival Opera Company, where she was a featured soloist on many orchestral concerts and on a “Music and the Spoken Word” television broadcast performing “Hear ye, Israel” from Elijah at the Salt Lake City Mormon Tabernacle.