Contralto Karen Esquivel was born in the U.S.A., of a Costa Rican mother and father of Mexican descent. Dr. Esquivel has participated in the Apprenticeship Programs of the Des Moines Metro Opera and the Santa Fe Opera. Her experience covers performances in Music Theater to Opera to Oratorio. Esquivel served as Director of the Compañía Lírica Nacional de Costa Rica and performed as a soloist with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Costa Rica, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Colombia. She taught at the Universidad de Costa Rica, the Universidad Nacional, and founded a project for the formation of young opera singers known as Opera Nova, providing lessons and performance opportunities through the presentation of recitals, scene programs and operas throughout Costa Rica, in an effort to bring opera to the community. Since 1997 she has formed a duo with her husband, Costa Rican pianist/coach Gustavo Castro, with whom she has performed numerous recitals in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Dr. Esquivel has performed the roles of Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Orphée in Orphée et Euridice, and Katisha in The Mikado, Baba in The Medium, as well as Servilla in the baroque intermezzo Il marito giocatore e la moglie bacchettona. She has served as Adjunct Faculty at Albany State University and Valdosta State University and is currently teaching Voice and Opera Workshop at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.