American mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook has excelled in a wide range of roles with leading companies throughout the United States. Opera Today wrote that “to say that Ms. Cook was a revelation is an understatement, since she stamped the part as her own, and experienced a triumph for her sensational performance…. Ms. Cook is possessed of a round mezzo tone of great beauty, admirable control and potent power in all ranges and at any volume.” Among her engagements in the 2019-20 season are returns to San Francisco Opera as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro and to Opera Parallèle as Mama in Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk and Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appetit!.
Ms. Cook’s engagements in the 2018-19 season included Mother Bailey in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life with San Francisco Opera, Death in the world premiere of Tom Cipullo’s The Parting with Music of Remembrance in Seattle, as well as its recording on Naxos Records, and Mrs. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera with West Edge Opera in Berkeley. In the 2017-18 season, Ms. Cook returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Camila in Thomas Adès’ critically acclaimed opera The Exterminating Angel, and sang the Innkeeper in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov with the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting.
Ms. Cook’s engagements in the 2016-17 season included performances as Countess de Coigny in Andrea Chénier with San Francisco Opera, the Witch in Humpderdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with San Francisco Symphony, Older Woman in Dove’s Flight with Opera Parallèle, and recitals with the San Francisco Symphony and with Seattle’s Music of Remembrance. In the summer of 2016, she sang Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with Mill City Summer Opera, and was soloist in David Gockley’s Farewell Opera Gala Concert with San Francisco Opera. Her engagements in the 2015-16 season included Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia with San Francisco Opera; Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Houston Grand Opera; Zosha in Heggie’s Out of Darkness with Music of Remembrance; and Gertrude Stein in Cipullo’s After Life with Urban Arias. Ms. Cook can be heard as Gertrude in the world premiere recording with Music of Remembrance, recently released by Naxos.
Ms. Cook is known as “San Francisco Opera’s go-to choice” for a wide range of roles (San Francisco Chronicle), with recent highlights as the title role in Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne; La Frugola in Il tabarro; Mrs. McLean in Floyd’s Susannah; and Marcellina. Past highlights with the company include Arlene Kamen and Wang Tai Tai in the world premiere of Wallace’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter; Jade Boucher in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking which was recorded and released by ERATO; Annina in Der Rosenkavalier; and Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress.
Recent performances include Marthe in Faust with the Metropolitan Opera; Mrs. De Rocher in Dead Man Walking with Opera Parallèle; Berta with Houston Grand Opera; and Ježibaba in Rusalka with Opera Colorado. She made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in Kát’a Kabanová; was Marcellina with Santa Fe Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre; Auntie in Peter Grimes and the Innkeeper in Boris Godunov with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Tisbe in La Cenerentola with Houston Grand Opera; and soloist in Stravinsky’s Le chant du rossignol with the San Francisco Symphony. Catherine Cook has also appeared with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. She can be heard as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, released by Centaur Records.
Ms. Cook was a participant of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Adler Fellowship and Merola Opera Program where she sang the title role in Ariodante and presented a Schwabacher Debut Recital. She is a winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions as well as the Merola Chicago Regional Auditions Yoder Award. Ms. Cook holds a Master of Music from Wichita State University and an Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, where she won the Normal Treigle Award. Catherine Cook is a Professor of Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she holds the Frederica von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice.