Katherine Cooper read English at University College, Oxford, and completed a doctoral thesis on John Cowper Powys, taking private vocal training alongside her academic studies. Since making her opera debut in 2004 as Mrs Grose in The Turn of the Screw, she has established a reputation for 'compelling theatricality' (Opera Magazine) and a 'rich, plummy, distinguished mezzo’ (Opera Britannia), with credits including the title-roles in Rossini’s La cenerentola & L’Italiana in Algeri and Gluck’s Orfeo as well as Sesto (Giulio Cesare), Dejanira, Dorabella, Donna Elvira, Cherubino, Mercédès, Flosshilde (Das Rheingold), Miss Jessel and Nancy (Albert Herring). She specialises in bel canto and baroque repertoire and sang in the modern-day premieres of Hasse’s Il Siroe and Artaserse and Vinci’s Il Medo with Ensemble Serse. Recent engagements on the concert-platform include Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn (with Ian Bostridge and Oxford University Orchestra), Elgar's The Music-Makers, the Mozart, Verdi and Durufle Requiems, and Mendelssohn's Paulus and Elijah. Plans for 2017/18 include Rachel in the world premiere of Marco Galvani's new chamber-opera Autopilot Saves Model S, and role-debuts as Adalgisa in Bellini's Norma and The Angel in Elgar's Dream of Gerontius. Katherine currently studies with the Austrian tenor Florian Thomas.
'Cooper shows immense promise (she might well turn to Wagner) as Adalgisa.'
[Cooper] conveys Adalgisa's sensuality through her smoky mezzo-soprano tones. We are left in no doubt as to why Pollione has become so smitten by her beauty and consequently leaves Norma for this dark woman from the forest of the druids...Her movements and gestures are full of conviction that one usually sees in a Shakespeare play.
La Cenerentola (Kennet Opera): 'With her agile, expressive voice and dramatic ability, Cooper gave a genuine heart and sweet centre to the production’ '
Dvorak Stabat Mater: 'Alto Katherine Cooper was a particular delight…emoting strongly and enunciating the Latin clearly; especially striking in the passages at the bottom of the note range. '
Mendelssohn Paulus: 'The outstanding individual performance of the evening came from alto Katherine Cooper, who ironically had the least to do, but in her one solo spot was thoroughly captivating, both vocally and dramatically.'
Hasse Artaserse: ''Cooper has a rich, plummy and distinguished voice, with overtones of a smoky contralto-like timbre...The voice is strong and even throughout its range, but has a real air of sensuality about it.'
The Turn of the Screw: 'As Quint’s chilling accomplice, Miss Jessel, Katherine Cooper performed with a nervy and compelling theatricality’