Karen Slack confident in singing Violetta in Sacramento Opera’s ‘La Traviata’

By Edward Ortiz
eortiz@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 1I
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 – 9:59 am

RANDALL BENTON rbenton@sacbee.com "I love this character," says Karen Slack, who sings the role of Violetta in the Sacramento Opera's "La Traviata." "I think of Violetta as a real woman. She's the most real character I've ever had to play."

As she walks across the bare stage of the Community Center Theater during a photo shoot, soprano Karen Slack exudes unwavering confidence and regal sensuality.

Those are two attributes Slack will bring to the Sacramento Opera production of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata.” In the production, which opens Friday, Slack will sing the most famous courtesan role in the operatic repertoire – Violetta.

The role is a demanding one for a soprano. It calls for sensitive acting that conveys a woman living outside societal norms. And it demands a versatile singer, who can sing lyrically in one act, powerfully and darkly in another.

“I love this character,” said Slack. “I think of Violetta as a real woman. She’s the most real character I’ve ever had to play.” Continue reading

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A Few Questions for Belle de Jour, Call Girl and Scientist

November 20, 2009, 1:30 pm
By RYAN HAGEN

In 2003, a young American woman in London studying for her PhD. ran into money trouble. To support herself while writing her thesis, she joined an escort service. Under the assumed name Belle de Jour, she started to blog her experiences. That blog led to a series of successful, jaunty memoirs beginning with 2005’s The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl. The books were adapted for television in the U.K. (where she is portrayed by Billie Piper) and later in the U.S. All the while, as Belle de Jour garnered more attention — and criticism, for portraying prostitution as a glamorous career choice — the woman behind Belle de Jour struggled to keep her anonymity. This month, as an ex-boyfriend threatened to blow her cover, Belle approached one of her critics, the London journalist India Knight of the Sunday Times, to reveal her identity. That resulted in an article, published Nov. 15, outing her as Dr. Brooke Magnanti, 34, a neurotoxicologist at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health. This week, she agreed to answer a few questions for the Freakonomics blog, about her work as a call girl and as a scientist. Continue reading

Blog poem: The Lost Art Of A Courtesan

From JWRadcliffe Talks Sex Blog
June 30, 2009 ·

An Honest Prostitute
God’s loving hand,
Made me beautifully grand.
Blue sparkling eyes,
A long dark silk mane;
Voluptuous curves of lies.

I wear a Brazier,
Of over 600 years.
Female beauty perfected,
Not tattered nor torn;
Our blazing intellect, inspected.

Passed down from my mother,
It didn’t quite fit my brother.
Manners polished pristine,
Gestures gracefully fluid;
Sexual essence undeniable obscene. Continue reading

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