American baritone Troy Cook recently performed his first Ford in Hamburgische Staatsoper’s Falstaff, following his debut with the company as Marcello in La bohème, and debuted with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.
This season brings important role debuts for the baritone, including Germont in La Traviata with Central City Opera and Rodrigo in Don Carlo with Opera Philadelphia. He appears in Lady Be Good at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, makes his company debut with Utah Opera as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and returns to the role of the Marquis de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites with both the Portland and Winston-Salem Symphonies. Additionally, he debuts with the San Francisco Symphony for Handel’s Messiah, and appears in concert with both the Portland Symphony and AZ Music Fest. Future seasons include performances with Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, and Austin Lyric Opera.
The 2013-2014 season brought performances as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra with Kentucky Opera, Riccardo in Boston Lyric Opera’s I puritani, Marcello in La bohème with Pittsburgh Opera and North Carolina Opera, and the Marquis de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Mr. Cook also appeared in concert with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Winston Salem Symphony. He closed the season as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music with Central City Opera.
During the 2012-2013 season, Troy Cook appeared as Marcello in La bohème and Father Palmer in Silent Night with Opera Philadelphia, in Handel’s Messiah with the Boise Philharmonic, and Lord Cecil in Maria Stuarda with Washington Concert Opera. He concluded the season with a debut as Silvio in Pagliacci with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and in a return to Central City Opera as Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat.
Troy Cook’s 2011-2012 season included appearances with Minnesota Opera, as Father Palmer in the world premiere of Silent Night; the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, as Marcello in La bohème; Opera Philadelphia, as Lescaut in Manon Lescaut; and the Winston-Salem Symphony, for performances of Carmina Burana. Additionally, he joined Opera Rara for a recording of Donizetti’s Caterina Cornaro.
In the 2010-2011 season, Mr. Cook returned to Lyric Opera of Kansas City as the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, sang his first Escamillo in Carmen at Green Mountain Opera Festival, and appeared on the concert stage in performances of the Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Pacific Symphony and the Arizona Musicfest, the St. John Passion with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and Handel’s Messiah with the Winston-Salem Symphony.
He returned to Opera Philadelphia as Sharpless to open the 2009-10 season, appeared in Bilbao for Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias and was recently seen in Santander and Bilbao for Il viaggio a Rheims. He also performed concerts with the Portland Symphony and the Arizona Musicfest and was Albert in Kentucky Opera’s Werther. 2009-2010 also included Marcello in Florida Grand Opera’s new La bohème and just prior he was Enrico in Las Palmas’ Lucia di Lammermoor.
Troy Cook opened 2007-08 as Zurga with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Just prior, he sang in a gala concert with Opera Pacific, as Marcello in La bohème with Berkshire Opera and performed Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Omaha. 2007 began with his German debut with the Semperoper Dresden as Marcello, and he also performed Marcello in his Opera Philadelphia debut to open their season. In addition, he returned to the American Ballet Theater in New York and Washington D.C. for the Kindertotenlieder. In 2006 he was Sharpless for Berkshire Opera and debuted with La Monnaie, Brussels in a gala concert of Pagliacci. In spring 2006, he performed with the LA Philharmonic in a world-premiere conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen; bowed as Enrico in Kansas City’s Lucia; appeared as a soloist in Carmina burana with the San Antonio Symphony, and performed Zurga in with Opera Carolina. He also sang in a Richard Tucker Foundation concert in New York City. In 2004/05 he returned to San Francisco Opera as Mr. Flint in Billy Budd, where he appeared the previous season as Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
Other recent appearances include Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Fort Worth Opera, Guglielmo with Santa Fe Opera and Toledo Opera, solo recitals under the auspices of the Marilyn Horne Foundation and Carmina Burana with the American Ballet Theater at Lincoln Center. Mr. Cook also appeared with the Metropolitan Opera in L’enfant et les sortileges and in a new production of Sly in 2001. In the fall of 2000 he made his European debut as Giacomo in Beatrix Cenci with the Grand Théâtre de Genève followed by Schaunard in La bohème and Morales in Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera.
Headshot by Arielle Doneson.
Opera Philadelphia – Don Carlo
One performance truly stands out in my mind—even in the shadow of Owens, Troy Cook’s noble portrayal of Rodrigo was a thrill to behold. It can be a thankless task, representing the loyal sidekick of a troubled Infante, but Cook was fully invested in his character, and his voice is ideal for the role. He has a beautiful, robust, woolen baritone, the sort that flows effortlessly in its middle range, and gathers energy as it climbs higher, never showing the faintest hint of a blemish. His interpretations of the two arias in his death scene could stand next to just about anyone’s—that glorious, full tone never faltered, even as he peppered his final lines with twinges of agony. To this point, Cook has appeared mostly with regional American companies, such as Kentucky, the Boston Lyric, and Opera North Carolina. It’s rarely worth speculating as to why this or that singer is not engaged at this or that house, and I won’t attempt that here. But I will say that if Cook should make an appearance in New York, I will make a point of going to hear him.”
Eric Simpson, The New Criterion
“The evening’s most elegant singing came from Cook’s nobly enacted Posa, consistently well-limned and attentive to bel canto phrasing. In this part his compact baritone suits a midsize venue like the Academy of Music better than it might a huge house; but his beautifully done two-part farewell to Carlo (and life) capped the evening and roused deserved cheers.”
David Shengold, Opera News
Boston Lyric Opera – I puritani
“…Troy Cook’s Riccardo (firm yet agile of voice, neglecting none of the needed passagework, giving words full value) really approached the ideal.”
David Shengold, Opera Magazine
“…it’s Troy Cook’s Richard, heartbreaking in his cavatina “Ah! per sempre io ti perdei,” who seems the more passionate lover, and there’s an excruciating moment when Elvira, thinking he’s Arthur, snuggles up to him.”
Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe
Pittsburgh Opera – La bohème
For his part, Mr. Cook showed off the multiple sides of Marcello. He played an equally comic counterpart to Musetta but still lent vigor to his character with powerful vocals, particularly at the end of the festive second act.
Elizabeth Bloom, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Central City Opera – Show Boat
The vocal star of the evening was baritone Troy Cook as the slick gambler Gaylord Ravenal. In his second principal role for the company, he just kept ringing out beautiful sounds, making it easy to believe that the show’s young ingenue, Magnolia, could easily fall for him.
David Sckolnik, The Gazette
Cook is a commanding presence as the flawed romantic lead, gambler Gaylord Ravenal, capable of switching quickly from high comedy to heartrending pathos and again to suave romance. Gorgeously presenting several signature songs, including “Make Believe,” Cook is always the center when onstage.
Kelly Dean Hansen, The Daily Camera
Opera Philadelphia – Silent Night
On the Scottish side, Troy Cook, as the chaplain, sang Puts’ setting of the Prayer of St. Francis so effectively that it was the emotional center of Act II.
David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer
Opera Philadelphia – La bohème
Her boyfriend Marcello is sung by Troy Cook with the sort of baritone that could promise a great future in Verdi…
David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer
Central City Opera – La bohème
Baritone Troy Cook offered a strong, well-rounded portrayal of Marcello…
Kyle MacMillan, Opera News
In strong supporting performances, baritone Troy Cook shone as the gullible but good-hearted Marcello…
Sabine Kortals, Denver Post
Best of the men was Troy Cook, whose Marcello ripped through the house with a manly baritone and a maniacal presence.
David Sckolnik, ColoradoSprings.com
Opera Philadelphia – Manon Lescaut
Baritone Troy Cook was first-rate as Manon’s venal brother, Lescaut…
Craig Smith, SantaFe.com
Minnesota Opera – Silent Night
The many male voices are well-differentiated: Troy Cook’s Palmer, Andrew Wilkowske’s Ponchel and the trio of lieutenants (Liam Bonner, Craig Irvin, Gabriel Preisser) merit special praise.
Larry Fuchsberg, Star Tribune
Other notable singers were…Troy Cook as a Scottish priest.
Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden – Così fan tutte
Troy Cook’s excellent baritone was in fine fettle from the off.
Colin Clarke, The Opera Critic
As a heavy metal aficionado, Guglielmo (Troy Cook) was suitably cock-sure, and petulant in his comeuppance, angrily muttering uncharitable thought during the Ab canon at the wedding.
Claire Seymor, Operatoday.com
Troy Cook, also American-half the cast is- made for a fine Guglielmo, with an extremely well-schooled lyric baritone of ideal Mozartian weight, evenness, flexibility and colour, all of which is a fine irony given that of all the principals, he gets both the least, and the worst music to sing (“non siate ritrosi” and “Donne miei” are both pretty weak specimens).
Stephen Jay-Taylor, Opera Britannia
Opera Philadelphia – Madama Butterfly
…a vocally secure and theatrically poised Sharpless.
David Patrick Steams, Philadelphia Inquirer
Florida Grand Opera – La bohème
Troy Cook is the cast’s ringleader, an animated Marcello the painter, always engaging.
Jack Zink, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Lyric Opera of Kansas City – Les pêcheurs de perles
But the opera belonged to Cook, whose Zurga seemed like the only human being onstage. His resplendent baritone is always a pleasure, but beyond that you really believed in the complexity of his character. Most of all, his simple act of sacrifice becomes the agent of sanity in this insane but oddly rewarding piece of musical theater, and in his bracing final aria you realized that “Pearl Fishers” is really just a love triangle in which somebody had to give in for sake of friendship.
Paul Horsley, The Kansas City Star
Opera Philadelphia – La bohème
It was Troy Cook (Marcello) and Ermonela Jaho (Mimi), however, who really stole the stage. Cook’s rich inflections and Jaho’s delicate spin to each phrase reinforced Puccini’s wonderful sweeping melodies. Their voices meshed perfectly together in their duet at the beginning of act III, perhaps the highlight of the entire production.
Sydney de Lapeyrouse, Phllyist Goes to the Opera
Berkshire Opera Company – L’elisir d’amore
Baritone Troy Cook came close to stealing the show as the fatuous Sergeant Belcore, who’s as much in love with himself in uniform as he is with Adina, and he lobbed a string of high notes into the auditiorium.
Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe
Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Troy Cook as Enrico was every bit Wilson’s equal as Enrico, the manipulative brother whose remorse comes too late to save his sister. His bronze baritone was verile and controlled, his acting exceptional.
Paul Horsley, The Kansas City Star
|Bizet||Zurga||Les pêcheurs de perles|
|Britten||Billy Budd||Billy Budd|
|Debussy||Pelléas||Pelléas et Mélisande|
|Donizetti||Enrico||Lucia di Lammermoor|
|Lehar||Danilo||The Merry Widow|
|Mozart||Guglielmo||Così fan tutte|
|Mozart||Il Conte||Le nozze di Figaro|
|Poulenc||Husband||Les Mamelles de Tirésias|
|Rossini||Figaro||Il barbiere di Siviglia|
|Rossini||Germano||La Scala di Seta|
|J. Strauss||Eisenstein||Die Fledermaus|