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World renowned Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote is regarded as one of the great artists of our day. Equally famed on the great operatic stages as in concert and recital she has been named the 'superlative British Mezzo' (San Francisco Chronicle). Her performances have been described as 'breathtaking in [its] sheer conviction and subtlety of perception' (The Times) and her voice as 'beautiful, to be sure, but, more importantly, it thrills you to the marrow.' (The Daily Telegraph).

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Renowned for her interpretations on the great recital, concert and opera stages of the world, Alice Coote's career has taken her from her beginnings in the north of England (born in Cheshire), singing in local festivals and playing oboe in the Cheshire Youth Orchestra, to being regarded as one of the great artists of today.

She trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Northern College of Music and The National Opera Studio, receiving during this time the Decca Kathleen Ferrier Prize and the Brigitte Fassbaender Prize for Lieder Interpretation. The recital platform is central to her musical life. Alice performs throughout the UK, Europe and the US at the Wigmore Hall, the BBC Proms, the Concertgebouw, the Lincoln Centre and the Carnegie Hall, among many other prestigious venues. Recently, she has performed Schubert’s Winterreise at the Wigmore Hall and at ‘’The Stars of the White Nights’’ Mariinsky Festival in St Petersburg, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Netherlands Philharmonic in Amsterdam and with the London Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall. Judith Weir's The Voice of Desire was written for her. She toured Europe in La Clemenza di Tito with Louis Langrée and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and was a resident artist at both Wigmore Hall and the BBC Proms, where she performed with Julius Drake, the London Philharmonic as well as with the Hallé Orchestra.

Acclaimed in particular for Mahler, Berlioz, Mozart, Händel and Bach with orchestras such as London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Radio Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic, Concert D'Astrée, Hallé and Concertgebouw; she has collaborated with conductors such as Gergiev, Dohnanyi, Belohavek, Elder, Boulez and Järvi.

Coote spends a large part of her time engaged in the UK and abroad interpreting male and female roles, such as Dejanira Hercules, Le Prince Charmant Cendrillon, Carmen, Charlotte Werther, Dorabella Così fan Tutte, Lucretia The Rape of Lucretia, Marguerite Damnation de Faust, Penelope Ulysses, Octavian Der Rosenkavalier, Composer Ariadne, Orfeo, Idamante Idomeneo, Poppea as well as Nerone L’incoronazione di Poppea, Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel, Sesto La Clemenza di Tito, Sesto Giulio Cesare, Maffio Orsini Lucretia Borgia, Ruggiero Alcina and the title role in Ariodante. She has performed these roles at Opera North, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, English National Opera, Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House. In Europe she has appeared at the Opéra de Paris and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in Amsterdam, Geneva, Munich, Frankfurt and Salzburg. US appearances include the Chicago Lyric Opera, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and the Met.

Recent engagements include Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Rückertlieder with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Les nuits d'été with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leonora in La Favorite at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Sesto in Giulio Cesare at New York’s Met. She also recently performed in the opening concert of the ’’Mostly Mozart Festival’’ in New York.

Highlights of her operatic calendar for the 2013/14 season include Anne Strewson in the Met’s premiere production of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier also at the Met, Le Prince Charmant in Cendrillon at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; she will return to the role of Octavian at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich as well as in Birmingham with the CBSO and will perform Dejanira in Hercules with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. She will also hold various recitals both in Europe and the US at the Wiener Konzerthaus, in San Fransisco and at Carnegie Hall among others.

On CD: an album of English Song, The Power of Love (Hyperion); Songs by Robert Schumann and Gustav Mahler (EMI); Händel’s Messiah and Mahler 2 (EMI); Angel Dream of Gerontius (Hallé); Composer Ariadne auf Naxos (Chandos); Orfeo (Virgin Classics); Choice of Hercules (Hyperion); Brahms Alto Rhapsody (Tudor); Schubert’s Winterreise (Wigmore Hall Live); Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde (Pentatone); Elgar’s Apostles (Halle Records).
On DVD: Händel’s Messiah (EMI); Hansel Hansel and Gretel (EMI); Nerone Poppea (Decca); Maffio Orsini Lucrezia Borgia (Medici Arts).

August 2013
 

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Reviews

"[...] Thank heavens for Alice Coote...she alone heard the sounds of silence, she alone carried the rapture of the piece and connected words to feeling. Her singing of the line “I seek rest for my lonely heart” in “Der Abschied” said it all.""

Edward Seckerson, The Independent

"[Coote] traced emotive evolutions from rapture to despair gently here, assertively there, and always exquisitely, with equal parts precision and pathos ... she emerged compellingly vivacious in the joyous passages, and, even more impressive, magnetically moving in the tragic utterances."

***** French art song recital at Zankel Hall, New York - Martin Bernheimer, The Financial Times

"This singer has every technical gift to support the greatness of her narrative art: the richest of full-voiced declamation to hold firm against wind and brass in the midnight ode, hallowed soft singing in the tenderest miniatures and phrasing that seems to go on for ever ... Mahler singing doesn’t come any classier, warmer or more involving than this."

Mahler: "Rückert Lieder", Barbican - David Nice, theartsdesk.com

"Alice Coote [...] used her gleaming mezzo to go for an emotional road less travelled [...] Coote's heartbreaking last song, "My Love's Two Blue Eyes" [...] hit you like a thunderbolt."

Mahler: "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen", BBC Proms - Neil Fisher, The Times

"Alice Coote ... managed to etch the fire and sadness of Mary Magdalene into her voice so well that the part's shortcomings were rather ruthlessly exposed."

Elgar: "The Apostles", BBC Proms - Guy Dammann

"Then there was Alice Coote’s Mary Magdalene “In the Tower of Magdala” making words matter with her customary intensity."

Elgar: "The Apostles", BBC Proms - Edward Seckerson

"Alice Coote [...] is intense and incandescent: the star performance."

Cendrillon - David Nice, BBC Music Magazine

"In this consistently exceptional performance, Coote placed immense trust in her voice to convey a diverse range of sounds across the evening, and each was executed to perfection. In the recitatives and aria from Hercules she used her dark, resonant and full voice as a baseline, before demonstrating incredible flexibility as her transition from the lower to upper register saw each soaring phrase seem to cap the last for beauty. In the excerpts from Ariodante, Coote revelled in conveying a far wider range of emotions. Her performance of 'Qui d'amor' was tender and heartfelt, and although her overall sound was full of body, certain lines were allowed to 'evaporate' into the air. The aria 'Scherza infida' demonstrated grief as intense as any just heard in Hercules and yet felt different in sense and tone [...]."

Handel arias, Wigmore Hall - Sam Smith, music OMH

"No [...] doubts about the opening phrases sung by Alice Coote as Octavian, who was in glorious voice from the outset. Coote is by now a practised and experienced Octavian, [...] her 'girl playing man playing girl' routine was often genuinely funny, [...] while her rich mezzo (and some wonderfully incisive timbre in her lower register) gave contant musical pleasure. [...] her reading of the part was rock solid throughout, and her outstanding musical line was particularly evident in the ensemble passages. [...] This was a sophisticated musical performance."

Der Rosenkavalier, Geneva Opera - Mike Reynolds, musicalcriticism.com

"...it was Langree's hypersensitive pacing [...] that lit his performance. That, and the presence of Alice Coote. Her Sextus is one of the living marvels of the Mozartian stage, [...] she plumbs the depths of anguish, torment, fear and self-hatred [...] as her voice shifted from almost breathless whisper to cries wrenched from the soul [...] Michael Schade's Titus matched the dramatic strength of Coote."

La Clemenza di Tito, Barbican - Hilary Finch, The Times

"At its centre was the powerhouse confrontation between Michael Schade's Tito and Alice Coote's Sesto. Schade, in terrific voice, presented Tito as a man of tremendous authority [...]. Coote, meanwhile, was all tragic anguish and blazing coloratura, as conscience and desire erode Sesto's mind."

La Clemenza di Tito, Barbican - Tim Ashley, The Guardian

"Last week, however, [Latvian mezzo Elina Garanca] pulled out, to be replaced by our own Alice Coote, who has memorably sung the role at ENO. Any disappointment at the substitution immediately evanesced: Coote was in incandescent voice, passionately engaged in her two big arias and making every bar of recitative dramatically alive and meaningful. "

La clemenza di Tito, Barbican - Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

"Four years ago, Alice Coote took her Wigmore Hall audience on one of the most harrowing winter journeys they had ever experienced. Her understanding of Schubert's Winterreise, already dark and unsparing, has now deepened, and her mezzo-soprano has evolved, too, making her performance at the weekend another formidable landmark in her career. [...] The voice had a feverish brightness to it - Coote's top register becomes ever more searing in its clarity and intensity - and her glimpse of a shadow in the moonlight set the spine tingling. If this Winterreise was to be emotionally highly charged, then it was musically rigorous enough [...] Indeed, everywhere the music's sense of obsessive repetition and circling was perfectly shaped. [...] And the final question of all, that the hurdy-gurdy man should grind his melodies to the wanderer's own tune, became one of the most heart-rending pleas I've ever heard in this cycle."

Winterreise, Wigmore Hall - Hilary Finch, The Times

"The clear vocal standout was Alice Coote who proved simply sensational as the Composer. The English singer completely embodied the frustrated and idealistic young artist whose masterpiece is being systematically destroyed by the plans of her obtuse (and unseen) benefactor. Coote’s ample high mezzo fits this trousers role like a perfectly tailored glove and her fearless vocalism and emotional commitment in the aria in praise of music provided the high point of the evening. "

Ariadne auf Naxos, Lyric Opera of Chicago - Lawrence A. Johnson ,Chicago Classical Review

"The Composer (Alice Coote) marvelous in a trouser role ...Unlike many mezzo-sopranos, Coote can open up into the ascending phrases of the Composer's music without strain. Her singing in the middle and lower registers, moreover, has the necessary warmth, expansion and carrying power to make the duet with Zerbinetta glow with erotic longing. The British singer, so memorable here last season in Handel's "Hercules," made her character the impetuous yet vulnerable nerve-center of the Prologue. "

Ariadne auf Naxos, Civic Opera House - John von Rhein, chicagotribune.com

"Fully convincing musically and dramatically, English mezzo Alice Coote made you wish the Composer's role was not confined to the Prologue. "

Ariadne auf Naxos - Andrew Patner, Chicago Sun-Times

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Discography