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).
Renowned 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.
The recital platform is central to her musical life, and she performs throughout the UK, Europe and the US, at the Wigmore Hall (where she has been a resident artist), the BBC Proms, Concertgebouw, Vienna Konzerthaus, the Lincoln Centre NY and Carnegie Hall, among many other prestigious venues. Most recently, she has debuted Schubert’s Winterreise at ‘’The Stars of the White Nights’’ Mariinsky Festival in St Petersburg where she returns this year to perform Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben and Dichterliebe.
Acclaimed in particular for Strauss, Mahler, Berlioz, Mozart, Händel and Bach with orchestras such as London Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, OAE, The English Concert, Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Hallé and Concertgebouw; she has collaborated with conductors such as Gergiev, Dohnanyi, Belohavek, Salonen, Elder, Boulez, Jurowski and Järvi.
In her operatic engagements Coote spends a large part of her time engaged abroad, and in the UK, interpreting male and female roles, such as Dejanira Hercules, Leonore La Favorite, 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, both Poppea and Nerone L’incoronazione di Poppea, Hänsel Hänsel und Gretel, Sesto La Clemenza di Tito, Sesto Giulio Cesare, Maffio Orsini Lucretia Borgia, Le Prince Charmant Cendrillon, 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 opera houses including Opéra de Paris and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, in Amsterdam, Geneva, Munich, Frankfurt, and Salzburg. USA and Canadian appearances include the Chicago Lyric Opera, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and the Metropolitan Opera New York.
Her many recordings and DVD appearances include 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 and The Apostles (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); On DVD: Händel’s Messiah (EMI); Hansel Hansel and Gretel (EMI); Nerone Poppea (Decca); Ruggiero Alcina ( Arte) Maffio Orsini Lucrezia Borgia (Medici Arts).
Highlights for the 2014/15 season included performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the LPO, Der Rosenkavalier at the Vienna State Opera, Xerxes at the ENO, and the release of her Handel Arias CD with Harry Bicket and The English Concert (Hyperion). Coote also starred in the leading role of Hansel and Gretel at the Teatro Real Madrid as well as presenting an engaging theatrical journey of Handel’s repertoire at the Brighton Festival exploring gender in “Being Both” with Susannah Waters.
Coote begins an active 2015/16 season by firstly taking her ‘Being Both’ project to BBC Proms; performing Bach’s B minor mass with the Hamburg Symphony; Verdi’s Requiem with the Halle Orchestra; a tour of Ariadne auf Naxos in Munich; a concert of Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam and a return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago in early 2016 for a performance of Der Rosenkavalier. Later engagements in 2016 include a performance of the Dream of Gerontius with the LSO as well as the likes of the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest in which Coote will perform Mahler, an acclaimed facet of her repertoire. Her two most recent recordings include ‘Schumann Lieder’ with Christian Blackshaw recorded live at Wigmore Hall and a French Song disk ‘L’Heure Exquise’ with Graham Johnson recorded for Hyperion.
UPDATED March 2016
"In Ariodante, that astonishing quality of singing begins with the two leads, Briton Alice Coote (in a trouser role – in other words, playing a man) as Ariodante, and Canadian Jane Archibald as Ginevra. Coote has an amazingly supple and dramatic mezzo-soprano, capable of delivering the widest range of emotion in a smoky, powerful timbre. When she wants to produce pathos, she is superb – her Scherza, infida, sung when Ariodante believes Ginevra has been unfaithful to him, was one of the greatest things I’ve ever heard at the COC. But when she needs suppleness and immaculate vocal control, she has it as well."Robert Harris, The Globe and Mail
"Alice Coote ushering us into the beyond with haunting tenderness: on this form, she is matchless. This was not just a “Song of the Earth” it was out of this world."Neil Fisher, The Times
"Alice Coote's extreme performance as Hercules's jealous and unhinged wife Dejanira dwarfed all her colleagues' efforts. Coote did not so much chart a descent into madness (Dejanira's precarious state of mind was clear from her opening recitative), rather she set out to present an entire spectrum of insanity, from warped sarcasm in 'Resign thy club and lion's spoils' to the frenzied violence of ' Where shall I fly?'"Laura Battle, Financial Times
"[...] Dejanira, an extraordinary study of the destructive impact of jealousy on a tempestuous nature, here sung by Alice Coote. The full resources of her wide-ranging mezzo were brought into play to define it, and the result was a tour de force of colouristic display placed firmly in the service of imaginative dramatic exploration. [...] The choir and orchestra of The English Concert were on impeccable form under Bicket, with high-definition articulation and tonal quality underlying everything they did; but this was inevitably Coote’s evening, as well as Handel’s."George Hall, The Guardian
"Alice Coote gave a blistering performance as Dejanira, bewailing her predicament one moment (“There, in myrtle shades reclin’d”) and spitting poison the next, moving around the stage like a woman possessed, firing arrow-showers of semi-quavers at Hercules ... and the captive Iole. When finally she learns of the dreadful consequence of her jealousy she loses her mind, and her fear of the Furies is real and terrifying (“See the dreadful sisters rise”)."Stephan Pritchard, The Observer
"Coote filled the hall with full blooded, boisterous comedy and perfect diction as well as remarkable sensitivity."Andrew H. King, Bachtrack
"[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
"[...] 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
Schubert: Winterreise Wigmore Hall Live, 2013
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra) PentaTone, 2013
The Power of Love, An English Songbook Hyperion, 2012
Humperdinck: Hänsel Und Gretel Glyndebourne, 2012
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 ''Resurrection'' (Paavo Järvi, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra) Virgin Classics, 2010
Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius Hallé, 2008
Alice Coote & Julius Drake Lieder (Mahler, Haydn & Schumann) EMI, 2003
Handel: The Choice of Hercules Hyperion, 2002