‘To sing with a female voice and act with a male persona …’

‘To sing with a female voice and act with a male persona …’


norman lebrecht

May 15, 2015

Alice Coote’s thoughtful, irreverent, mind-and-body bending dissertation this week on performing out of your given gender is essential reading for everyone who sings mezzo, has dealings with mezzos, or is thinking of asking one out on a date.

It requires maximum suspension of certainties. If you haven’t read it already, do so here.


alice coote xerxes2

Teaser text:

And at the end of the day at least I can take my costume off and return to the certainty of myself and my own gender… Or can I? And which part of myself am I returning to? There have, I confess, been several occasions over the years when come tea break I have walked out of the rehearsal room straight into the men’s toilets. For the record I have immediately scuttled out blushing and shocked into reality when I am confronted by the apparatus on the walls. But it’s confusing …


  • Tommo says:

    Coote is as mad as a snake which will be obvious to anyone who saw ‘Being Both’ in Brighton on Thursday 14th. Great music ruined by her amateurish, unfathomable and unconnected character ‘acting’ in front of a wall of graffiti artists trying to make sense of it all and succeeded in being just a useless distraction. Oh yes and the other distraction coming from the adjacent hall in the form of loud pop music – an artistic and management failure of the first order.

  • Marg says:

    A very interesting and insightful piece. Thanks for posting it Norman.