mezzo soprano
Don Giovanni at Houston Grand Opera
Sasha Cooke mastered this role, whether singing the fiery passagework of Donna Elvira's outrage or the poignant lyricism of her lover's yearning. There was, moreover, a dark-chocolatey resonance to her mezzo-soprano that was attractive all on its own.
April 21, 2024
Gregory Barnett, Houston Chronicle
Béatrice et Bénédict at Festival Berlioz
In the role of Béatrice, the American mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke delivered a beautifully poised performance, with a sinuous singing line and a refined sensitivity, qualities which give all its depth to the character.
September 1, 2022
José Pons, Olyrix
Rodelinda at the Metropolitan Opera
Sasha Cooke did an utterly valid, sonorous and expressive work in the complex part of Eduige. Graceful onstage, she proved a mistress of the style, displaying a pleasing liquid tone.
June 1, 2022
David Shengold, Opera News
The Marriage of Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera
Cooke’s Cherubino was equally nimble and fleet-footed, except when pinned to the ground by Van Horn’s Figaro. Cooke was excellent as the over-sexed teenage page that had clearly learned a trick or two from the Count, exhibiting more cockiness than awkwardness in the young man’s relentless quest for romance. With a plummier voice than many a mezzo-soprano who assays the role, Cooke dashed off an impressive, fleet-footed “Non so piu” and an ardent “Voi che sapete”.
April 3, 2022
Rick Perdian, New York Classical Review
how do I find you on Pentatone
It is an astounding collection. The contributors are big names in the forties-and-younger crowd—Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, and Gabriel Kahane, to name a few—and although they represent a diversity of styles, it seems as if each composer was equally inspired to showcase Cooke’s luscious sound [...] There’s Shaw’s achingly beautiful title track and Andrew Marshall’s witty impersonation of a cabaret standard, “(A Bad Case of) Kids.” Cooke sounds fabulous, and the songs acknowledge the pandemic in wry, raw, or gently insightful ways without sounding tragic.
January 28, 2022
Oussama Zahr, The New Yorker
Wayfarer Songs with Minnesota Orchestra
Cooke displayed richness throughout her ample range and an animated, theatrical approach to creating a character for the four Mahler songs, widely regarded as the first song cycle written for orchestra. Cooke buoyantly bounced about in celebration of a beautiful day on "I Went This Morning Over the Field." But she also captured the heartbreak and sorrow waiting at the cycle's conclusion, her dusky tone ideal for the mood of Mahler's sad march on the finale. It was some masterful Mahler.
November 13, 2021
Rob Hubbard, Star Tribune
King Arthur at Bard SummerScape
Sasha Cooke, as Genièvre, phrased her text with beguilling skill, unleashing her wide-ranging, sensuously cushioned mezzo with dynamic acumen.
August 19, 2021
David Shengold, Opera News
Meditations on Rilke with The Cleveland Orchestra
And what instruments were those of Burton and Cooke. Whether singing separately or together, the two artists evinced stunning versatility, bringing to the musical poetry enormous palettes of color, power, and expression. Both moved with obvious comfort and command across their ranges and between styles and vocal dimensions.
February 21, 2020
Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer
Hansel and Gretel at San Francisco Opera
Cooke in particular turned in a performance of remarkable lushness and vigor, creating a Hansel who lingered beguilingly in a border region between juvenile and full-grown leading man. Her singing soared securely above the dark clangor of the orchestra — even at the pumped-up volume favored by conductor Christopher Franklin — and she gave the role a buff athleticism that proved charming throughout.
November 15, 2019
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Orlando at San Francisco Opera
This challenging role, originally written for the celebrated contralto castrato Senesino, holds no terror for Ms. Cooke, who dispatches Orlando’s Act 1 bravura aria “Fammi combattere” with fiery brilliance[...] It’s a dramatic tour de force as fine as anything I’ve heard on an operatic stage.
June 17, 2019
Truman Wang, San Francisco Classical Voice
Les nuits d’été with New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
American mezzo Sasha Cooke did so exquisitely, capturing the delicate meld of Gautier's poetry and Berlioz's music. This was superlative artistry; we heard vocal power and warmth with no strain whatsoever, coupled with a pure and flexible tone, bewitchingly lustrous in its lower register. Already, in April, this must be one of the standout performances of the concert year.
April 24, 2018
William Dart, New Zealand Herald
Rinaldo on tour with The English Concert
Sasha Cooke’s Goffredo offered as lustrous a voice as was heard all evening, a burnished mezzo-soprano with some of the deeper colours of an alto, and with a dignity of delivery to match the character.
March 14, 2018
Roy Westbrook, Bachtrack
Marnie at English National Opera (world premiere)
In the title role, the mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke sings with both warmth and a barely concealed backbone of steel, and projects ruefulness and the tiniest touch of humor.
November 19, 2017
Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs at Santa Fe Opera (world premiere)
Sasha Cooke sings a faultless, warm, engaging Laurene Powers Jobs with a dignified stage presence and quiet charisma to spare. Her long closing soliloquy/eulogy after Steve’s memorial service is simply the opera’s finest moment.
July 27, 2017
John Stiege, Santa Fe Reporter
Damnation of Faust in Oregon
The true star of the evening, however, was mezzo Sasha Cooke. In the words of an anonymous audience member, “If God is a woman, that is what she would sound like.” Her verdant timbre, dark and warm, is more commonly heard in contraltos, yet she carried her full sound above the staff with ease. Her stunningly composed performance awed the Hult audience, as well as all on stage with her.
April 16, 2017
Alison Kaufman, The Register Guard
Handel, Mozart and Mahler with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
With her rock-solid, richly textured mezzo, Cooke pointed out the words in “Blicke mir Nicht in die Lieder,” rose gloriously in “Liebst du um Schõnheit” and conveyed the quiet, trance-like intensity of “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” with exquisite control [...] The orchestra certainly knew how to put the zip behind Cooke’s room-filling dramatics in “Deh, per questo istante solo” from Mozart’s "La clemenza di Tito."
March 19, 2017
Richard Ginell, Los Angeles Times
Das Lied von der Erde with San Francisco Symphony
But anytime you add Cooke into the mix, there’s a whole new level of magic involved. She brings an extraordinary wealth of tonal color to a performance, as well as a degree of emotional intensity that can be almost unnerving in its focus.
April 7, 2016
Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Carnegie Hall Recital
A song recital by the luminous American mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke is always an event. Her outing on March 12 in New York City’s Zankel Hall, with the attentive Julius Drake at the piano, was no less so with its world premiere by Kevin Puts...Cooke’s commitment to contemporary music seems a natural part of her musical curiosity and communicative commitment. Each piece on this recital revealed a different aspect of her rich artistic personality, from the classical gravity of Haydn’s scena, "Arianna a Naxos," to the giddy hilarity of Cole Porter’s "Give Him the Ooh-La-La."
June 2, 2015
Judith Malafronte, Opera News
Mahler 3 with San Francisco Symphony on Tour, Royal Festival Hall
The best thing about this performance was Sasha Cooke, the American mezzo whose resonant tone and intelligent projection raised the fourth movement to a different level.
March 17, 2014
Andrew Clark, Financial Times
The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at San Francisco Opera (world premiere)
The best news in "Mary Magdalene" was Cooke's majestic performance. In her company debut, the American mezzo made a brilliant impression, her characterization composed of equal parts poise, radiance and elegant directness. Her honey-colored voice was deployed luxuriantly; Cooke sang with complete conviction, sounding unforced and lustrous throughout a long evening.
September 18, 2013
Georgia Rowe, Opera News
Missa Solemnis with the San Francisco Symphony
Flanking Tilson Thomas were four soloists, all excellent -- though a special "hosanna" must go out to mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, whose singing of "miserere nobis" ("have mercy upon us") in the "Agnus Dei" was like an expanding column of pure concentrated sound. It was soulfully unnerving, shaking your inners, bringing to mind the likes of Callas and Coltrane. Wow.
May 11, 2013
Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News
Show Boat at Houston Grand Opera
Sasha Cooke brings a rich, beautifully supported soprano to Magnolia, persuasively charting her growth from starry-eyed innocent to life-toughened survivor, with the right soignée polish in her late-in-the-action Ziegfeld turn "Nobody Else But Me."
January 23, 2013
Everett Evans, Houston Chronicle
Songs and Arias with Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin
"Das amerikanische Wunder" A still very young singer from California took the stage. She made her entrance in her blue taffeta gown, with such self-assurance as if she had been born a diva [...]This mezzo soprano has the blues in her voice, she has that swing in every fiber of her body. Her voice is wonderfully clear, with a timbre of liquid gold. She rocked the Philharmonie right from the first note of the Shaker song, “Simple Gifts,” she moved the audience so that the out-of-office politicians awoke, and the B-list celebrities felt like A-listers. All applauded like crazy, right after every selection. They didn’t want to let her leave. Her name is Sasha Cooke, a name to take note of.
September 9, 2012
Eleonore Büning, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the New Zealand Symphony
What a voice. Thrillingly free at the top, it is even more spine-tingling down in its contralto region, and the freedom from excessive vibrato gave a clarity to the text. And how vividly she was inside Mahler's words, with each song characterised with great intensity. This was, quite simply, great singing.
March 19, 2012
John Button, Wellington Dominion Post
Shéhérazade at Alice Tully with Chamber Music Society of NY
Sasha Cooke proved to be right at home in this gorgeous cycle. Hers was a warm, captivating performance that emphasized the dramatic imagery in each of the three songs. [...]Cooke gave an exquisite performance...covering a range of emotion from cheerful innocence to bravura posturing, from religious devotion to hearty celebration.
July 1, 2010
Arlo McKinnon, Opera News
Jeremiah Symphony with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
The Lamentation, the final movement, was also a revelation, as it introduced us to mezzo Sasha Cooke. This is a big, rich, intensely present voice driven by perceptive musical intelligence. Her singing was beautiful in many ways: as outraged protest, as utter despair, and as a lonely voice crying out amid the aftermath of disaster.
September 26, 2009
Tom Strini, Third Coast Digest
Doctor Atomic at the Metropolitan Opera
New to ‘Atomic’ is the gifted young mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, as Kitty Oppenheimer. Perhaps because she had no nostalgia for the old production, she was able to create a fresh, vital portrayal, bringing a luminous tone, a generously supported musical line, a keen sense of verbal nuance, and a flair for seduction. Even if the Oppenheimers’ bedroom came out looking oddly like a suite in an Ian Schrager hotel, their duet emerged as the most psychologically cogent scene of the night—a billowing of sensual delirium into white-knuckle reality.
October 27, 2008
Alex Ross, The New Yorker