Praised for her "unusually rich and resonant voice" (Opera News), contralto Sara Couden (“SA-ra COO-den”) is a premiere interpreter of operatic, concert, and song repertoire.
Despite cancellations in 2020 and 2021, Ms. Couden has kept on performing: most notably, she made her debut with the Cincinnati May Festival in 2021, performing composer Julia Perry’s emotional Stabat Mater. 2022 is a busy year, with company and role debuts at St. Petersburg Opera (Florida), as Juno/Ino in Handel's Semele, as well as the Marquise of Berkenfield in Donizetti’s Fille du régiment, and a role debut as the Nurse in Dukas’ Ariane et Barbe-bleue with West Edge Opera. She covers Erste Magd in Elektra and Mrs Sedley in Peter Grimes at the Metropolitan Opera, and sings the mother in Marfa with Berkeley Chamber Opera as well as Ino in Semele with the Handel Opera Project. For concert work, Ms. Couden returns to the Charleston Symphony for Beethoven 9, sings Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder at the Staunton Music Festival, and makes her Seattle Symphony debut in Messiah. In the field of recital/art song, Sara performs a concert of viola/piano/alto works for Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, and records art songs composed by Artur Schnabel with Jenny Lin, piano, under the Steinway label.
In 2023, Ms Couden will perform the orchestrated version of Alma Mahler’s Fünf Lieder with the California Symphony, as well as Shostakovich’s From Jewish Folk Poetry with the Brooklyn Art Song Society.
In previous seasons, Ms. Couden made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Albine in Thais, her Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra debut as Israelitish Man in Judas Maccabaeus, and her San Francisco Symphony debut in Beethoven 9. (Her San Francisco Opera debut as Rita in Handmaid’s Tale was unfortunately canceled due to COVID.) She toured Japan with Maestro Masaaki Suzuki in Bach's B Minor Mass, and performed Third Lady in Die Zauberflote with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos and Penelope in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria with West Edge Opera, and sang "Urlicht" as the alto soloist in Mahler's Second Symphony with the Santa Cruz Symphony. She has performed numerous Handel roles, including Bradamante, Cornelia, Ino, Juno, Dejainira, Irene, and Narciso. She completed the Lindemann Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera in 2017, 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 holds a Master of Music with Honors from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and an AD in Early Music, Chamber Music, and Oratorio from the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.