Vocalist - Mezzo-Soprano
Music of Remembrance's new one-act opera lingers long after

“As Gertrude Stein, mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook sustained a fascinating balance of egotism and guilt-ridden uncertainty. Her powerful voice held its own against the jauntily macho posing Cipullo uses to characterize Picasso.”

Thomas May, Bachtrack
The Truth Will Set You Free

“One of the greatest satisfactions of this production was the high quality of the leads, demonstrated by fine voices and convincing portrayals throughout. A few of the stand-outs were Catherine Cook as Mrs. De Rocher....”

David Ostwald, Oxford University Press
“Dead Man Walking” Is A Musically and Intellectually Complex Opera

“Two of the most moving, riveting moments both musically and story wise came during the parole board hearing scene where the convict’s single mother, Mrs. De Rocher (sung masterfully by mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook) begs the board to have mercy on her son who became the man of the house and father figure to his two younger brothers....”

Humberto Capiro, Living Out Loud (LA)
Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking Performed by Opera Parallèle

“At this hearing, Mrs. De Rocher, sung by veteran mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook, emotionally pleads for her son’s life.... In this role of a lower class mother from rural Louisiana … her moving testimony as a Death Row convict’s mother was a highlight of this production of the opera.”

James Roy MacBean, Berkeley Daily Planet
Opera Parallele Does Right By Dead Man Walking

“Mezzo Catherine Cook used her two arias as the killer’s mother to create a heartbreaking, fully formed portrayal of a mother’s grief and wishful denial.”

Steven Winn, San Francisco Classical Voice
'Dead Man Walking’: Spare and moving new staging of opera

“Catherine Cook was a tremulous but strong-toned presence as the convict’s mother.”

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Catherine Cook balances drama and music in her approach to Schumann

“This was where Cook’s dramatic skills could best be appreciated. Beyond her skill at phrasing that captured the full semantic impact of each poem, her command of both posture and gesture captured just as powerfully the interiority of each poem, represented only through Schumann’s piano writing.”

Stephen Smoliar, SF Classical Music Examiner
'Standing O' for 'Susannah'

“The rest of the cast really couldn’t be bettered, with Catherine Cook suitably nasty as the meanest of New Hope Valley’s church ladies.”

Philip Campbell, Bay Area Reporter
Anya 17

“Natalia’s aria ‘New girls’ … [was] sung authoritatively by veteran mezzo soprano Catherine Cook … Cook made a strong impression and her crystal clear diction rendered Natalia’s supertitles unnecessary.”

Jeffery S. McMillan, Opera News
SUSANNAH - San Francisco Opera

“Mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook’s Mrs. McLean led the townswomen.... The chorus is an essential element in Susannah and Ian Robertson’s well-prepared singers evoked the townspeople’s poison and pity in equal measure.”

Georgia Rowe, Opera News
Opera Parallele's 'Anya17'

“There’s much to like in the opera though, in particular the music of Adam Gorb, which provides an off-beat light on the story. It is percussive during the set up scenes, but veers to its most sensual when things start going wrong: a lush jazzy color for a scene where Viktor and Natalia [Catherine Cook] get the girls drunk, and a power ballade for the amazing Catherine Cook … as she explain[s] how she was abused at ten by her father and walking the streets at 12.”

Cedric Westphal, SFist
Adam Gorb's ANYA 17 - Opera Parallèle

“As is so often the case, the finest musical and dramatic contribution came from mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook as Natalia, whose blend of villainy and tragic damage almost became the focus of the piece.”

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Opera Parallèle presents a North American premiere with uncompromising impact

“The real powerhouse, however, was Catherine Cook as Victor’s assistant Natalia, instrumental in managing all the ‘business basics’ of this trade.”

Stephen Smoliar, San Francisco Examiner
“Catherine Cook, San Francisco’s Berta since 1996, reprised the role with consummate flair.”
Georgia Rowe, Opera News
Looking backward & forward: SFO & SFS
"I returned to see if mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook (… who stepped in for the last two performances) could vary the overall sound, and she did make her Dolores dramatically believable and far more listenable."
Philip Campbell, Bay Area Reporter
'The Barber of Seville' review: doubly engaging
“Catherine Cook was a magnificent Berta.”
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
A Barber That's All Thumbs (Up)

“Character is never a challenge for veteran mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook (Berta). Not only did she excel in the role, but her energy made you want to hug her to bits.”

Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice
San Francisco Opera breathes glorious new life into 'Barber of Seville'

"Catherine Cook, the company’s Berta since 1996, has polished the role to perfection; Wednesday, she reprised it with consummate flair."

Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury-News
Intriguing Duo in San Francisco

“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. The creators give Dolores a great curtain aria replete with universal sentiments, sweeping melodic invention, and scorching high notes. When her last piercing held note was finally cut off with percussive orchestra stings that recall the end of Salome, the audience leapt to their feet lustily cheering Catherine’s total success. Ms. Cook is possessed of a round mezzo tone of great beauty, admirable control and potent power in all ranges and at any volume. Best of all, she is also able to float a pianissimo with the best of them. There is so much exposed lyrical high singing required at key musical moments, that … the writing fit Ms. Cook like a glove and there was nothing she seemed not able to do to perfection.”

James Sohre, Opera Today
Catherine Cook an expressive 'Dolores Claiborne'

“Cook … brought to the performance her own panoply of artistic gifts. Chief among these was the theatrical vividness that has made her a regular and welcome presence at the War Memorial for more than two decades. In Cook’s account, Dolores - a working woman with only her own internal resources to draw on in the struggle against the world and her abusive husband - became a figure of stolid, immovable grace. … As Dolores’ emotional travails grew deeper over the course of Act 2, Cook let the audience experience her plight in singing of vibrant color and communicative power. And in the opera’s final moments - a sudden surge of serenity and resignation shot through with courage – Cook’s performance rose to wonderfully expressive heights.”

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
FAUST - Metropolitan Opera
“Catherine Cook’s red-blooded, ‘easy come, easy go’ Marthe added welcome brightness to the proceedings.”
Joanne Sydney Lessner, Opera News
"Catherine Cook, too, delivers as Berta. The sincerity of her ‘Il vecchiotto cerca moglie' is a highlight of the second act and casts aside any doubts that she is too young to convince in this role."
Marcus Karl Maroney, ConcertoNet.com
Brilliantly cartoonish Barber of Seville kicks off Houston Grand Opera's 57th season with a Cubist twist
"American mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook as Berta trudges around with great humor throughout most of the opera, a thankless part in many ways, but she is nonetheless compelling and nearly stole the second-act with her short, powerful aria."
Theodore Bale, CultureMap
"Rusalka" an imaginative break from standard fare
"A wonderfully complete singer, mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook brings all the menace and zest one could ask for in the role of Jezibaba, the witch, and Stefan Szkafarowsky, with his rock-solid bass voice, offers an affecting take on Vodnik."
Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post
In San Francisco Opera's 'Figaro,' young soprano Danielle de Niese lived up to her lofty reputation in the final act
"But right on the money was another mezzo-soprano, Catherine Cook, as Marcellina, the housekeeper who has an eye for Figaro -- and who turns out to be Figaro's mother. Cook's performance was unforced and focused, with a pointed sound and brassy energy. She was terrific."

Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury-News
S.F. Opera's Marvelous Marriage of Figaro
"Every time Cook [Marcellina] appears in a comedic role, I rub my hands, wondering how long it will take before I burst into laughter. The woman is a prize."
Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice
Marriage of Figaro - Now At San Francisco Opera
"Catherine Cook is the finest comic/character mezzo-soprano around."
Sean Martinfield, San Francisco Sentinel
Gounod: Faust
"I was particularly amazed by mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook, alumna of the Merola Opera Program and former Adler Fellow: her Marthe was her latest significant interpretation after a season of successes - such as that of Il trittico. She has the ability of creating warm characters and of engaging in a sympathetic relationship with the audience. In this production, she plays Marthe, Marguerite's neighbour and guardian, who cheekily flirts with Méphistophélès himself, after she learns her husband has died in war. Cook showed herself to master both the dramatic and the vocal nuances of her role, offering another of her fine executions."
Marina Romani, MusicalCriticism.com
San Francisco Opera's starry season
"Kudos to Catherine Cook for singing so beautifully."
Jason Victor Serinus, Bay Area Reporter
Racette triumphs in 'Il Trittico'
"Another star was our beloved mezzo Catherine Cook. Usually consigned to character roles, which she played to the hilt in Tabarro and Schicchi, Cook delighted with her melting legato as the Monitor in Suor Angelica. Brava!"
Jason Victor Serinus, Bay Area Reporter
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