Allison Cook
Mezzo-soprano

"Cook is a star with scenic charisma and voice control" (Teatro.org)

Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Iarlaith Carter +44 (0)20 3725 9162
Clare Erskine +44 (0)20 3725 9145

Biography

Possessing an extraordinary versatility and vocal range, Allison Cook has made a number of important debuts in recent seasons and has expanded her original mezzo repertoire to include roles such as Marie in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and the Duchess of Argyll in Thomas Ades’ Powder her Face.

Allison created the role of the Marquise de Merteuil to great acclaim at Teatro alla Scala in the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Quartett and recently was praised as “downright phenomenal” in Kaija Saariaho’s monodrama Émilie at Salzburger Landestheater. In her debut as the Duchess of Argyll in Jay Scheib’s critically acclaimed production of Powder Her Face for New York City

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Possessing an extraordinary versatility and vocal range, Allison Cook has made a number of important debuts in recent seasons and has expanded her original mezzo repertoire to include roles such as Marie in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and the Duchess of Argyll in Thomas Ades’ Powder her Face.

Allison created the role of the Marquise de Merteuil to great acclaim at Teatro alla Scala in the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Quartett and recently was praised as “downright phenomenal” in Kaija Saariaho’s monodrama Émilie at Salzburger Landestheater. In her debut as the Duchess of Argyll in Jay Scheib’s critically acclaimed production of Powder Her Face for New York City Opera she made this role her own, going on to further successful performances at Le Festival d'opéra de Québec.

In the current season, Allison debuts at Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires in Alex Olle’s production of Quartett, and brings her much-anticipated Duchess of Argyll to Teatr Wielki under Alejo Pérez.

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Contacts

Shirley Thomson +44 (0)20 3725 9173
Iarlaith Carter +44 (0)20 3725 9162
Clare Erskine +44 (0)20 3725 9145

Reviews

"The considerable task of around 70 minutes completely alone on stage falls to Allison Cook. The way the mezzo-soprano solves this theatrically and vocally is downright phenomenal. She mastered the extreme demands of the difficult vocal part which was predominantly in French, partly in English, with flying colours – be it during the more ordinary writing or the extreme and almost unsingable heights - and the rest of her role was sung with incredibly purity and sophistication." (Helmut Christian Mayer, Opernnetz, June 2014)

"Allison Cook spends one and a quarter hours demonstrating all manner of vocal and interpretative layers to portray a gripping and moving character. From delicate internal struggles to dramatic

...

"The considerable task of around 70 minutes completely alone on stage falls to Allison Cook. The way the mezzo-soprano solves this theatrically and vocally is downright phenomenal. She mastered the extreme demands of the difficult vocal part which was predominantly in French, partly in English, with flying colours – be it during the more ordinary writing or the extreme and almost unsingable heights - and the rest of her role was sung with incredibly purity and sophistication." (Helmut Christian Mayer, Opernnetz, June 2014)

"Allison Cook spends one and a quarter hours demonstrating all manner of vocal and interpretative layers to portray a gripping and moving character. From delicate internal struggles to dramatic outbursts; from speech to a large aria; the mezzo-soprano shows a wide range of technique and huge potential to keep the audience present at every moment." (Salzburger Nachrichten, June 2014)

"The Scottish mezzo-soprano Allison Cook coped with the demands of the vocal part with flying colours, despite the extreme intervals and huge vocal scope of the piece. Standing ovations all round." (Kurier, May 2014)

"Best of all was Phaedra, where the mezzo-soprano Allison Cook was immersed in the dance, and became part of it. She caught wonderfully the queen's distracted passion, her lonely figure hemmed in by a sea of accusing dancers, as implacable as a Greek chorus." (Ivan Hewett, The Daily Telegraph, November 2013)

"...thanks to the lithe and charismatic mezzo-soprano Allison Cook, who not only sings with a rich, dark passion but prowls the stage with remarkable grace, Phaedra emerges as dynamic and inspired." (Debrah Craine, The Times, November 2013)

"His heroine is performed by magnetic mezzo soprano Allison Cook, who moves among the ten dancers in a detailed choreography of emotion: her body shuddering with small tremors of guilt, her fingers threading with despair." (Judith Mackrell, The Guardian, November 2013)

“Ms. Cook took the remainder of the show onto her shoulders, moving with consummate insight and dignity through one of contemporary opera’s most psychologically nuanced sequences…. [She] rose to the task, her Duchess a dark reflection of Strauss’ Marschallin for an age in which noblesse is no longer obliged.” (Steve Smith, The New York Times, February 2013)

“Allison Cook was the Duchess, in full command of her part, still looking glamorous in decline (as the libretto suggests she thinks she does), and singing strongly. She almost made us capitulate in sympathy to her plight at the end.” (John Rockwell, Opera, February 2013)

“Cook’s fearlessly intense performance.” (James Jorden, Musical America, February 2013)

“As the Duchess, Allison Cook was nothing less than superb. A compelling presence at all times, she handled the vocal and dramatic demands of the role stylishly and with apparent fearlessness. Again and again I was impressed by the timing of her gestures and utterances, the nuance which she brought to the expression of an elaborately constructed personality. Cook managed to be at once pitiable and commanding as she negotiated a path through her own history, until the last of her delusions was stripped, leaving her with only bitter truths about society and herself.” (paperblog, February 2013)

"They needed a visually exciting setting for this complex score, composed for two orchestras and two singers, with the Marquise de Merteuil sung by the extraordinary Allison Cook" (Giornale della Musica, April 2011)

"Most of the spectators were speechless after watching for an hour and a half without intervals, the cruel and ruthless erotic games of the Marquise de Marteull played by soprano Allison Cook" (El Pais, April 2011)

"Phenomenal…. It would be impossible to imagine a more beautiful, intense, predatory and tragically glacial Marquise than that created by Allison Cook." (Il Giorno, April 2011)

"Allison Cook is a perfect Marquise de Merteuil; an intelligent, cynical, sophisticated, androgynous beauty. Cook is a star with scenic charisma and voice control allowing her to withstand the sharp contrasts of the music and capture all the variety of expression in this dynamic role." (Teatro.org, April 2011)

Discography

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