Karen Kanakis


“Karen Kanakis, the soprano who sang the role of Dorian’s love interest, Sibyl Vane, got too little stage time. Her voice and her stage presence are a delight, and her performance cast Sibyl as a thinking young woman, rather than an intellectual featherweight who won roles on her beauty alone.”
— Denton Record Chronicle

“With admirable linguistic versatility, Ms. Kanakis sang Delibes in French and Schubert in German …and hit some fine B’s, C’s, and even an E-flat. Luther College and its music students must be proud.” — New York Concert Review

“Slapstick exploits from Cinderella’s conniving stepsisters (Karen Kanakis …) kept the audience laughing throughout. Timing and expressions were priceless.”
— The Salt Lake Tribune


Soprano Karen Kanakis is hailed for her fine vocal technique and dramatic flair. “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. Kanakis’ 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.

Kanakis’ operatic credits include Abigaille in Nabucco, Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Violetta in La Traviata, and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. Though she began her career singing lighter repertoire, Ms. Kanakis’ voice is now most at home in fuller soprano roles such as Tosca, Leonora (Trovatore and La forza del destino), Aïda, Cio-Cio-San, Ellen Orford, Elisabeth (Tannhäuser), Agathe, and Donizetti’s Three Queens.

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, both the Mozart and Fauré Requiem, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. She is a frequently sought-after solo recitalist, and in 2008 she made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Weill Recital Hall alongside her husband, baritone Jacob Lassetter. A frequent performer of modern compositions, she was 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 regional 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. She was a featured performer during the Bassi Brugnatelli Symposium in Robbiate, Italy, in the summers of 2016-2017 performing the soprano solos in Mendelssohn’s Elijah and concerts of operatic excerpts.

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