Karmesha K. Peake
An enterprising, skilled, and extraordinarily gifted Dramatic Mezzo Soprano, Karmesha (she/her) discovered her affinity for music at the age of five singing in her Louisville, Kentucky church youth choir. In the early years of her musical journey, Karmesha secured a coveted invitation to take part in Kentucky’s high-standing Governor’s School for the Arts among only 200 students in the entire state. A performance by Angela M. Brown, an African American dramatic soprano, inspired Karmesha to devote her life to music. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, Karmesha received both a Summa Cum Laude Bachelor of Music Performance and Master of Music Performance. During her collegiate tenure, Karmesha performed the roles of Mrs. Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff, Mrs. Harrow in The Power of Xingu, and stunned audiences as the Strawberry Woman in George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
Karmesha resides in New York City where she has established herself as a formidable artist in the city’s thriving music community and is on her way to becoming one of the world’s most outstanding Dramatic Mezzo Sopranos. Most recently appearing as a member of the renowned Metropolitan Opera Chorus singing to sold out audiences in their production of Porgy and Bess. Additional roles have included Flosshilde in Götterdämmerung, Waltraute in Die Walküre, Maddalena in Rigoletto, and many more.
Further, Karmesha appeared as cover for the role of Chloe in H. Lawrence Freeman’s opera Voodoo with Harlem Opera Theater and Morningside Opera at Miller Theater, NYC. She served as featured soloist in Harlem Opera Theater’s Salute to Black History Month presenting works by Harry T. Burleigh. Outside of New York, she has traveled for appearances in “Why Just in February?” a concert series at Bellarmine University, the Cincinnati Opera productions of Porgy and Bess and La Traviata, and as an ensemble member of Houston Grand Opera’s production of Show Boat.
In recent years, Karmesha has been afforded the opportunity to receive instruction and participate in workshops with some of the industry’s most renowned and revered talents. Among her teachers and coaches are Janinah Burnett, Scott Carlton, Jane Bunnell, Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Cliff Jackson, William R. Lewis, and Lauren Flanigan. She has participated in masterclasses conducted by Chuck Hudson, Ryan Taylor, Priscilla Baskerville, Cynthia Lawrence, and Morris Robinson. Karmesha has also performed under the direction of John Doyle and Francesca Zambello.
At the core of Karmesha’s portfolio of music, her passion has been dedicated to giving voice to the premiere works of African American composers. Damien Geter’s An African American Requiem, set to premiere May 2020 with the Portland Symphony. She has embodied the role of Aunt Lizzy in a new work about the life of Emmett Till, composed by Mary Watkins. Further still, Karmesha finds joy in performing the hymns and spirituals of one of America’s earliest expression of religious folksong.
In addition to her operatic work, Karmesha maintains a busy concert and recital schedule with performances that have taken her around the world with debuts in Holland, France Copenhagen, Austria, Luxembourg, Italy, Israel, and Switzerland; and has rendered reasonable voice to the works of Wagner, Brahms, Verdi, Puccini and others.
From the sacred spaces of the African American religious experience to palatial opera houses around the world, Karmesha K. Peake is a New York City based American Dramatic Mezzo Soprano with a rich, velvet voice of euphony, charisma, and spiritual invitation.