Catherine Cook
  1. Faculty

Catherine Cook

Frederica Von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice; Voice / Opera Studies

“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… Ms. Cook is possessed of a round mezzo tone of great beauty, admirable control and potent power in all ranges and at any volume."
Opera Today


  • Artist Diploma, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music
  • MM, Wichita State University
  • BM, Millikin University


  • Private Lessons
  • Audition Workshop for Singers


  • Metropolitan Opera
  • San Francisco Opera 1991–Present
  • Houston Grand Opera


  • National Winner, Metropolitan Opera National Council, 1990
  • Corbett Prize, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music

What is your hometown?

Villa Park, Illinois.

What is your favorite recording?

The DVD of Caballe singing Norma with Jon Vickers at the L'Orange Festival.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Sports! I am a huge Warriors fan, Bears fan, and love the SF Giants!

Who were your major teachers?

Barbara Honn and Dr. George Gibson.

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
—Oscar Wilde

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

When I saw The Barber of Seville at Lyric Opera of Chicago in high school — I was immediately hooked!

What was a turning point in your career?

Winning the Metropolitan Opera Competition in NY.

What are your most important collaborations?

Performing in the world premiere of Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie and playing the title role in the world premiere of Dolores Claiborne by Tobias Picker, both with San Francisco Opera.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Dead Man Walking, Erato
After Life, Naxos
Beethoven: Ninth Symphony, Centaur


Catherine Cook, mezzo soprano, has excelled in a wide range of roles with leading opera companies throughout the United States. A former Merola participant and Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera, she has performed more than 50 roles in over 300 performances with San Francisco opera over a span of 25 years. A National Winner of the Metropolitan Opera competition, Ms. Cook has also performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Santa Fe opera. A champion of new music, Catherine has sung in World premieres by Tobias Picker (Dolores Claiborne), Jake Heggie (Dead Man Walking), Tom Cipullo (After Life and The Parting), and Stewart Wallace (Bonesetter’s Daughter). As an educator, Catherine has been on the Voice Faculty at SFCM since 2006, where she currently holds the Frederica von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice.  Her students have been invited to participate in the Young Artist Programs at Santa Fe Opera, Des Moines Opera, Central City Opera, Portland Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Arizona Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, and Teatro Nuovo. Ms. Cook is a frequent guest master class teacher,  adjudicator, and gives workshops on audition technique. Catherine lives in Daly City with her husband and two children.