Praised by Opera News for her “unusually rich and resonant” voice, contralto Sara Couden is a premiere interpreter of operatic, chamber and song repertoire. She recently premiered the roles of Ruth (PIRATES OF PENZANCE) with Winter Opera St. Louis, Israelitish Man (JUDAS MACCABAEUS) with Philharmonia Baroque and Ormindo (ERMELINDA) with Ars Minerva, and will make her Philadelphia Orchestra debut as Mother/Chinese Cup/Dragon Fly (L’ENFANT ET LES SORTILÈGES) and return later in the Spring for Dritte Magd (ELEKTRA). She will also appear as a soloist with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and sing the Alto Soloist in MENDELSSOHN ELIJAH with Yale Camerata. She will debut with San Francisco Opera as Rita (THE HANDMAID’S TALE) next season.
Highlights of Ms. Couden’s 2018-19 season included a return to Carnegie Hall as the Alto Soloist in Karl Jenkins’ STABAT MATER, Dejanira (HERCULES) at the Staunton Music Festival, Testo in Stradella’s LA SUSANNA with Heartbeat Opera and Opera Lafayette, Bach cantatas at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Series, Shostakovich’s FROM JEWISH FOLK POETRY with the Chamber Music Series at Lincoln Center, Bach’s ST. MATTHEW PASSION with True Concord Voices, and a return to the Met to cover Marta and Pantalis (MEFISTOFELE).
In previous seasons, Ms. Couden made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Albine (THAÏS) and covered Erste Magd (ELEKTRA). She toured Japan with Maestro Masaaki Suzuki in Bach’s B MINOR MASS, sang Third Lady (DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dryade (ARIADNE AUF NAXOS) with West Edge Opera and the Alto Soloist in MAHLER SECOND SYMPHONY with the Santa Cruz Symphony. She recently completed the Lindemann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera and has been a fellow at the Marlboro Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Music Academy of the West, and the Institute for Young Dramatic Voices.
Ms. Couden is an early music enthusiast and an indefatigable champion of modern music. A gifted actress, her vast repertoire includes roles ranging in style from the terrifying Baba (THE MEDIUM) to the tragic Cornelia (GIULIO CESARE), as well as the comic Dame Quickly (FALSTAFF) and Katisha (THE MIKADO).
Ms. Couden holds a Master’s of Music with Honors in Opera from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and an AD in Early Music, Chamber Music, and Oratorio from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. She has studied with Cesar Ulloa, Marilyn Horne, Warren Jones, John Churchwell, Ken Noda, Dolora Zajick, James Taylor, Fred Carama, and Ken Noda, and has coached with Deborah Voigt and Renata Scotto. She also trains at The Barrow Group, an acting school and theater in New York City.