The clap wasn't just to pass the time.
"I wanted to get an idea of the acoustics in the hall," said Slack, a soprano whose other performance halls have included the
This weekend, Slack will make her solo debut in her city of residence for the past three years:
Sunday afternoon, she will sing
"It's pretty awesome," Slack says. "It's nice to sing at home, where I can sleep in my own bed, and I don't have to pack a suitcase. It's very cool."
Fans of the
"It's been good," Slack says of
Going to school together means, of course, Slack has a few stories to tell on her friends.
Cole, she recalls, was fairly shy, and Tang had a sweet spot for ice cream. But Lee, she says, reminded her of some of the conservatory dynamics.
"Priscilla and I were in sight-singing class together, and she reminded me that I used to sing loud in class," Slack said, Tuesday. "I was the only singer in the class. We had all these instrumentalists, and everyone was so shy about singing. But not me. I'd just get out there and sing."
Gifted with a big voice, Slack says her career has been a bit of a struggle.
"The people who were handling me really wanted to have the next Rosa Ponselle, and Rosa Ponselle had her
"This is a middle-aged career, and you need to have experience to sing these parts."
Slack did get her Met debut in 2006, stepping in to the title role of
One thing she does not get to do much is chamber music, which makes this weekend even more exciting for her.
"The intimacy of it and the musicians you make music with in a small ensemble instead of big orchestras and costumes and props and everything; it's just you and the musicians, and that's very special," Slack said.
Smaller venues offer different challenges than bigger halls, she said.
"You don't change the technique, you just take more risks," Slack said. "You use the same support, breath support, you would in a big house. But you change the color and the sound.
"Here, the audience gets to hear everything. But it's good. There is the visceral thing of hearing a big voice in a small space."
And that's appropriate, because usually the folks at home know you better.
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