Soprano Karen Leiber is an uncommonly versatile performer and a sought-after interpreter of the great dramatic heroines of nineteenth- and twentieth-century operatic repertoire. She has embodied the most important German, Italian, and French roles, above all Leonore (Fidelio), Marie (Wozzeck), Salome, Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier), Chrysothemis (Elektra), and Judith (Bluebird’s Castle). In the Italian Fach, Karen sings the title roles in Madame Butterfly and Tosca, Verdi’s Lady Macbeth and Desdemona, and Maddalena in Andrea Chénier, and her French repertoire includes Meyerbeer’s Sélika (L’Africaine) and Valentine (Les Huguenots). She specializes in Wagnerian roles such as Elsa von Brabant in Lohengrin, Kundry in Parsifal, Venus in Tannhäuser, Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, and Sieglinde in Die Walküre. Karen also sings operetta—Hanna Glawari (The Merry Widow), Lisa (Land of Smiles), and Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus).
Karen’s career has taken her to illustrious concert halls and opera houses all over the world. She has performed at the Athens Megaron and in Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan Concert Hall, where she sang the leading soprano role in Hosokawa’s Vision of Lear in a production of the Munich Biennale. Further international engagements have led her to the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg, the Théâtre Athénée in Paris, and the opera houses of Lausanne, Linz, and Poznań. Guest engagements in her native Germany include appearances at the state theaters of Nuremberg, Braunschweig, and Mainz, as well as at the opera houses of Weimar, Magdeburg, Halle, and Erfurt.
Karen has collaborated with celebrated staging directors Götz Friedrich, Tatjana Gürbaca, Alexander von Pfeil, Hermann Schneider, and David McVicar, as well as with prominent conductors Enrico Calesso, Marko Letonja, Günther Neuhold, and Rolf Reuter.
Beyond the standard repertoire, Karen has devoted herself to the interpretation of new music in partnership with living composers. She recorded Adriana Hölszky’s complex theatrical composition »Monologue« for soprano solo on the Animato label, a project which she developed in creative collaboration with the composer. Her performances of new music have been broadcast on numerous television and radio stations such as Arte, 3Sat, and Deutschlandradio Kultur, as well as France Musique, Radio de la Suisse Romande, and NHK Japan.
To balance her many guest engagements, Karen enjoys the continuity of being a full-time ensemble member. After singing in the ensemble of the Mainfranken Theater Würzburg, Karen joined the Mecklenburg State Theater of Schwerin in 2017/18. There she has sung Tosca, Marschallin, Desdemona, and Maddalena (Andrea Chénier).
In the 2021/22 season, Karen will sing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, a gala concert, and a Liederabend with works by female composers living in turn-of-the-century Vienna. In addition, she will sing the First Lady in The Magic Flute and Third Soprano in Udo Zimmermann’s Der Schuhu und die fliegende Prinzessin. She will also perform music by Victor Ullmann with musicians of the State Philharmonic of Rheinland-Pfalz.
Karen studied voice with Eugen Rabine and is currently mentored by KS Deborah Polaski.