Performance Thursday, January 30, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Alice Coote

Zankel Hall
Equally famed on the great operatic stages as in concert and recital, Alice Coote dazzles audiences everywhere with her unmatched mezzo and depths of expression. The exquisite singer comes to Carnegie Hall with a recital that shows off her acclaimed voice, that is "beautiful, to be sure, but, more importantly, it thrills you to the marrow" (The Daily Telegraph).


  • Alice Coote, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Graham Johnson, Piano


  • POULENC "Les chemins de l'amour" from Léocadia
  • HAHN "L’heure exquise" from Chansons grises
  • HAHN "Les étoiles" from Rondels, No. 19
  • FAURÉ "Le secret," Op. 23, No. 3
  • GOUNOD "Sérénade"
  • GOUNOD "Au printemps"
  • CHABRIER "Toutes les fleurs"
  • CHAUSSON "Le temps des lilas" from Poème de l' amour et de la mer, Op. 19
  • FAURÉ "Fleur jetée," Op. 39, No. 2
  • BERLIOZ "Le spectre de la rose," Op. 7, No. 2
  • SAINT-SAËNS "Aimons-nous"
  • CHABRIER "L’île heureuse"
  • BACHELET "Chère nuit"
  • SAINT-SAËNS "Soirée en mer"
  • HAHN "Fumée"
  • DEBUSSY "Auprès de cette grotte sombre" from Le promenoir des deux amants
  • SATIE "Je te veux"
  • HAHN "La chère blessure"
  • KOECHLIN "Novembre" from Quatre mélodies, No. 2
  • POULENC "Voyage à Paris" from Banalités, No. 4
  • POULENC "Hôtel" from Banalités, No. 2
  • POULENC "La grenouillère"
  • POULENC "Voyage" from Calligrammes, No. 7

  • Encores:
  • POULENC "C'est ainsi que tu es" from Métamorphoses, No. 2
  • FAURÉ "Adieu" from Poème d’un jour, Op. 21, No. 3

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Alice Coote

    Renowned for her interpretations on the great recital, concert, and opera stages of the world, Alice Coote's career has taken her from her beginnings in the north of England singing in local festivals and playing oboe in the Cheshire Youth Orchestra to being regarded as one of the great artists of today. She trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Northern College of Music, and the National Opera Studio. 

    As a recitalist, Ms. Coote performs throughout the UK, Europe, and the US at prestigious venues, including Wigmore Hall, BBC Proms, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Lincoln Center, among many others. Recently, she performed Schubert's Winterreise at Wigmore Hall and at the Stars of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg. Judith Weir's The Voice of Desire was written for her, and she was a resident artist at both Wigmore Hall and the BBC Proms.

    Acclaimed in particular for her performances of Mahler, Berlioz, Mozart, Händel, and Bach with orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, she has collaborated with conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Christoph von Dohnányi, Jirˇi Beˇlohávek, and Pierre Boulez.

    Ms. Coote spends a large part of her time engaged in the UK and abroad interpreting male and female roles at Opera North, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, English National Opera, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In Europe, she has appeared in Paris (Opéra national de Paris and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées), Amsterdam, Geneva, Munich, Frankfurt, and Salzburg. In the United States, she has performed with the main opera houses in Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, and New York. Highlights of her operatic calendar for the 2013-2014 season include Anne Strawson in the Metropolitan Opera's premiere production of Nico Muhly's Two Boys, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at the Met, and Le Prince Charmant in Cendrillon at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. She returns to the role of Octavian at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich as well as in Birmingham with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and performs Dejanira in Hercules with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto.

    Recent recordings include Schubert's Winterreise (Wigmore Hall Live) and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde (Pentatone). She will release a CD of Handel arias, an album of French song, and Elgar's Sea Pictures this year.

    More Info


Elgar's "Speak, Music," Op. 41, No. 2
Alice Coote, Mezzo-Soprano | Graham Johnson, Piano

At a Glance

This program of 19th- and 20th-century French song includes works both familiar and cherished on the one hand, lesser-known and exquisite on the other. In the first half, love is mostly bliss; in the second half, it is darkened and remembered in grief and sorrow. Songs written in the uniquely French philosophical-contemplative-meditative mode dominate at the close.

We begin with a waltz-song by Francis Poulenc that tells of erotic bliss now gone by and of memory: This introductory work sums up the themes of the entire program. Two nocturnal songs follow—one set to poetry by the great Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine (although he hated the term Symbolism)—composed by Proust's lover and friend Reynaldo Hahn. The consummate master of French song, Gabriel Fauré sings of love as an ecstatic secret that day or night should keep hidden from the other; the lover in the song thus proclaims it to all and sundry. Two winsome songs of love at its newest and freshest are next, both by the prolific Charles Gounod: a serenade to words by Victor Hugo and a celebration of the immortal pairing of springtime and love.

Four flower songs in different moods follow: Emmanuel Chabrier's exuberantly mad profusion of "all the flowers," Ernest Chausson's melancholy hymn to everything beautiful (symbolized by the "time of lilacs") that slips irretrievably away, Fauré's despairing discarded flower of rejected love, and Hector Berlioz's ghost of a rose that died happily on a girl's beautiful breast. The first half ends with two songs to bespeak love as rapture: Camille Saint-Saëns's drowsily hypnotic injunction "Aimons-nous" and Chabrier's fusion of Wagnerian richness and French sensibility in "L'île heureuse."

With the second half, the mood darkens and philosophical reflection sets in. Alfred Bachelet's lush, rapturous song croons about the romance of nighttime; Saint-Saëns's protagonist wishes that he, like his beloved, could believe in God and rejoice but can only see humanity's misery; Claude Debussy gazes into the grotto where Narcissus died; and Hahn's persona sees all life as smoke, born of fire and vanishing almost instantly. Erik Satie—whose music-hall songs strike deeper than one might think on first acquaintance—gives us a woman who freely confesses her desire, while Hahn sings of past wrong done to a lover and guilt that impels return. The song that follows, Charles Koechlin's "Novembre," hints that this love, like so many, is destined for the grave. We close with four of Poulenc's greatest songs that shade from giddy joy to the most profound meditations on loss, memory, death, and love.
Program Notes
This concert and the Pure Voice series are sponsored by the Jean & Jula Goldwurm Memorial Foundation in memory of Jula Goldwurm.