Alice Coote is a British mezzo-soprano, known equally as an operatic performer and an art song interpreter.
Born May 10, 1968, in Frodsham, Cheshire, she grew up with two visual artists for parents. She attended London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music, and the National Opera Studio. From 2001 to 2003, she was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. She has performed at England's North Opera, the English National Opera, the Royal Opera House, the San Francisco Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. Coote has become a specialist in the music of Handel and has frequently sung "breeches" roles, such as Ruggiero in Handel's Alcina, Idamante in Mozart's Idomeneo, Orsini in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. In addition to these Baroque and Classical works, she has also sung contemporary pieces by Dominick Argento and Judith Weir. In recitals, Coote is regularly accompanied by pianist Julius Drake. In 2012, they performed Schubert's Die Winterreise in recital at Wigmore Hall, and the recording was released on the Wigmore Hall Live label.
Coote made headlines in 2014 with an open letter attacking British critics who had made insulting comments about the body of a young singer appearing in a production of Der Rosenkavalier. "Singers and teachers know that being underweight is far more damaging to a singer's wellbeing and performance than being overweight. Similarly I can tell you that if our stomachs are toned anywhere near a six-pack our sound will suffer," she wrote, asserting that opera "is not about lights, it is not about costumes, it's not about sets, it's not even about sex or stature...It is ALL about the human voice."
Meanwhile, Coote's career on stages and recordings continued to develop. She has recorded mostly for Hyperion and Pentatone, participating in a pair of acclaimed Mahler recordings on the latter label. In 2017 she released a set of Mahler's three mature song cycles, delivering compelling, highly emotional, and text-centered readings. Coote herself performed in Der Rosenkavalier in 2016, with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Increasingly often associated with the Metropolitan Opera since her debut there as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro in 2006, she was featured in two productions simulcast live in 2017 and 2018: Thomas Adès' The Exterminating Angel and Massenet's Cendrillon.