The first question always is "Well, how was the Tosca?" and ours was remarkable. Jennifer Rowley slated to sing the role again at the Met in January, was very clearly the star of the night. As Floria Tosca, Ms. Rowley gets many things so right: her profound and comprehensive interpretation gives Tosca an organic, complex richness. Ms. Rowley's skill for acting is eclipsed only by her formidable and acutely controlled, exciting voice. The soprano drew me in every time she sang pianissimo, which somehow remained beautiful, even, and round, and I was fully rapt (and like ugly crying with a broken heart) by the end of Ms. Rowley's exquisite "Vissi d'arte". If you ever get the chance to see her, absolutely do yourself that kindness.
- Schmopera, Tracy Monaghan, October 7, 2017
Nashville Opera opens season with Puccini’s breathtaking 'Tosca'
The Tennessean's feature on Nashville Opera's Tosca with soprano Jennifer Rowley, baritone Weston Hurt, and director John Hoomes
Hear Jennifer sing LIVE from the Grand Tier at the Metropolitan Opera arias from Rossini's Guillaume Tell and Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, as well as chat about all things Cyrano de Bergerac and what's next for her!
The Metropolitan Opera - Roxane, Cyrano de Bergerac
...the two leads poured so much heart and intelligence into their performances that I left grateful for the experience.
For Ms. Rowley, this was a breakthrough. Originally an understudy for Patricia Racette, she took over when Ms. Racette pulled out in March, and on Tuesday, she sang with an even, radiant tone and effortless, chiffony top notes...at the heartbreaking ending, when Roxane discovers too late Cyrano's selfless devotion, Ms. Rowley sang with an intensity of expression and a subtly embittered sound that suggested a singer of enormous gift and promise.
- The New York Times, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, May 3, 2017
Tuesday was a breakout night for the young American soprano Jennifer Rowley, who was enchanting as Roxane, overflowing with innocent exuberance. She brings to the role a voice of considerable weight, from which she can draw out an array of different colors–early on there was an enticing, smoky quality to her singing, as she fended off romantic suits from all the society men of Paris. Once alone on her balcony singing to her beloved Christian (or so she thought), she showed a cool, clear soprano with a penetrating top. From glowing debutante to soft-spoken widow, her arc was beautifully crafted.
- New York Classical Review, Eric C. Simpson, May 3, 2017
The Heart of the Production
While Alagna was the centerpiece of the entire production, the reason for its existence and for its overall success, one could argue that the night belonged to Jennifer Rowley as Roxane. Stepping in for Patricia Racette a few weeks before the start of rehearsals, the soprano’s presence in this role, which she was singing for the first time, was one of poise and profound knowledge. She doesn’t actually sing in the entire first act and yet Rowley, placed at the very center of the stage to start the opera, was already a major presence. As she watched the fight unfold, she expressed by the fascination at witnessing the action and fear for the combatants. We could already see that this was no ordinary girl, but one brimming with energy and passion. During her first meeting with Cyrano, Rowley played the coquette, smiling and throwing playful glances at him as she unveiled who she truly loved, her voice relaxed but gentle.
But she showcased a wittier edge as she turned down De Guiche, the soprano ensnaring the older gentleman with a mocking tone and flirtatious glances. When Christian made his failed advances on her, she shut him down with curt and brash phrasing, the building sound expressing her mounting frustration. But then she melted as Cyrano expressed his love for her, the sweet timbre coming to the fore. While Cyrano’s poetry takes center stage, Rowley made us feel Roxane’s wonder. At first, she stood on the balcony in a protective pose, but by the end, her eyes were closed, a massive smile consumed her face and her body ebbed with freedom.
Roxane’s big moment comes in the ensuing act when she appears to greet her lover and then expresses her love in a rapturous aria. Singing in subdued but gentle timbre, the soprano made a slow crescendo throughout the passage, climaxing in her affirmation that she would love Christian even if he was ugly. As the passage develops, the soprano is asked to ascend into the upper range repeatedly, mirroring the writing that Alfano imposes on Cyrano. Rowley was fearless throughout, her dramatic soprano showing its heft, its emotional intensity and its technical security throughout. The high notes burst out with exhilaration resulting in the audience exploding with enthusiasm.
During the final act, Rowley’s Roxane, clothed in a black dress, was far more subdued, the sprightly femme ready to risk it all in the previous acts, now restrained in both manner and vocal expression. But as with Cyrano, her youthful grace and tender singing reasserted itself as she had her moment of realization.
When Rowley came out to take her final bow, the audience thundered with approval. One month ago she had no idea she would be here. As she stood there, tears in her eyes, you couldn’t help but feel excited for her and the future she is poised to have at the world’s greatest stages.
- OperaWire, David Salazar, May 3, 2017
His gallantry continued even into the curtain calls, when Alagna gently pushed forward soprano Jennifer Rowley (Roxane) for an impromptu solo bow. She deserved every “brava” for her heartfelt and generous performance.
Though she is not a “natural” Roxane — she is a superb artist. Her clear, bright soprano blooms on top with a lovely shimmer, and she has one of the most expressive faces in the opera business today.
Rowley is in any case an attractive woman, but in the scene of Cyrano’s serenade, her rapturous face took on the goddess-like beauty of a Marion Cotillard.
- The Observer, James Jorden, May 3, 2017
As Roxanne, Jennifer Rowley, in what will hopefully be the first of many lead roles at the Met, dazzled. Her physically expressive performance conveyed details of character that reached the back rows of the house. Her French diction was excellent, as she and Alagna communicated with flair and immediacy, and her beaming soprano vibrated magnificently, of one piece from the bottom to the top.
- ZealNYC, Brian Taylor, May 14, 2017
Soprano Jennifer Rowley was a late addition to the cast, stepping in this spring to learn and sing Roxane. She proved a compelling heroine, beautiful and unattainable, genuine in her passion for Christian and painfully blind to Cyrano himself. She was absolutely magnificent in the balcony scene and on the battlefields in Act III, a scene that recalled La Navarraise in its uncompromising portrait of war.
- SuperConductor, Paul J. Pelkonen, May 5, 2017
Soprano Jennifer Rowley’s Roxane was a revelation. Excellent control gave her ascents an effortless quality, equally at home in the solo moments and ensembles.
ConcertoNet, Paul du Quenoy, May 3, 2017
American soprano Jennifer Rowley makes a strong impression as Roxane and was especially moving in the last act.
- The Epoch Times, Barry Bassis, May 13, 2017
Jennifer Rowley - A Rising Star (and one to keep your eye on)
By Brian Taylor
Jennifer Rowley is the very definition of a star on the rise. But, in an age when people become famous merely for being famous, this is the rarest of stars in an even more rarefied arena: a true operatic diva.
The all-star cast, only seven singing roles, interacts with ferocious tension that can be cut with a knife.
Vanessa is sung by Ohio native Jennifer Rowley, who on Monday heads off to the New York Met. She stopped off this week to sing her inaugural Vanessa in Toledo. She exquisitely crafts Barber’s excruciatingly difficult vocal lines into emotional vehicles which at times border on neurotic madness. She is brilliant.
...Particular mention should be made of two exquisite dramatic moments: the second-act scene where Vanessa and Erika share the glory of grand ballroom dances gone by, and the quintet finale that prophetically reveals the awaiting fate of each of the principals.
- The Blade, Wayne F. Anthony, March 31, 2017
NOOA Arts Chat with Tosca and Mario
Noah Stewart and Jennifer Rowley chat about their characters in New Orleans Opera's production of Puccini's Tosca, how they got started in the world of opera, and their connection to the Martina Arroyo Foundation!
The first prize honors of the evening rightly went to the leading lady, Jennifer Rowley, making her company debut. Possessed of a bright gleaming soprano sound, she had no difficulties with Puccini’s often treacherous vocal writing. The soprano, a gifted and sympathetic actress, allowed one to care for the character, even when in the throes of misguided jealousy in Act I. As much as a sumptuously sung “Vissi d’arte” was a true highlight, the high C in Act III, when Tosca described how she plunged the dagger into Scarpia’s heart, was even more thrilling." - Opera News, George Dansker, April 8, 2016
"The company scored in the casting of Jennifer Rowley, in her local debut, as the beautiful, jealous, diva. She easily met the demands of the role in vocal size and scope, and dramatically was an effective protagonist. "Vissi d'arte" was a highlight..." - Opera Magazine, Jack Belsom, October 2016
"This Tosca truly was devastating, largely due to the singing and acting of its star, Jennifer Rowley. Her Tosca was jealous, of course, but also impetuous, loving, fearful, dominant, and a thousand other conflicting traits, often at the same time. This Tosca felt like the very young woman Tosca really is. For example, at the end of Act II, after Tosca has killed Scarpia (sorry if that’s a spoiler), the act of setting up candles around his body and making the sign of the cross has a truly devout feeling to it, not ironic. Nearly every vocal moment was like spun gold, with a rich sound and a legato worthy of the golden-age singers of the mid-20th century. I have never heard or seen a more effective “Vissi d’arte”—we could feel Tosca’s defeat and humiliation, along with her determination to survive. Miss Rowley’s vocalism in this aria was exceptional—well shaped phrases, tasteful dynamics, rich sound." - The Huffington Post, David Browning, April 10, 2016
"The role of Floria Tosca is one of the most coveted in the soprano repertoire, but it is very challenging. Not only does it demand a high level of vocal dexterity and range, but the singer’s acting must be convincing as well. Jennifer Rowley proved Friday night she could hold her own against the many sopranos who have played the role here before her. She was at the top of her game vocally and visually, and her acting was convincing. One could see and feel how intensely the audience was drawn into her dilemma, especially during her mournful delivery of the role’s signature aria, “Vissi d’arte” (I lived for art), and her equally touching duets with Cavaradossi (Noah Stewart) in acts 1 and 3." -The Advocate, Dean M. Shapiro, April 9, 2016
Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg - Leonora, Il Trovatore
Der kommt Jennifer Rowley als Leonora noch näher. ihr ausdrucksstarker sopran ist mit dunklem timbre, tollen Farben und einer wahnsinnigen Geläuftigkeit ausgestattet. Dazu pflegt sie eine wunderbare Pianokultur, verfügt über endlosen Atem und präsentiert so das berührendste und überzeugendste "d'amor sull'all rosee," ich in den vergangenen Jahren habe hören dürfen.” (Then comes Jennifer Rowley as Leonora. Her expressive soprano is equipped with a dark timbre, great colors, and an exciting dexterity. Through this, she maintains wonderful piano colors, has endless breath, and presents the most touching and convincing "d'amor sull'all rosee," I have had the pleasure of hearing in recent years.) - Der Opernfreund, Jochen Ruth, February, 21, 2016
"Magnifica la Leonora interpretata dal soprano Jennifer Rowley" (A magnificent Leonora interpreted by soprano Jennifer Rowley) - PassaParola Magazine, February, 2016
"Les heros s'affrontent dans leurs chantes...Jennifer Rowley est une Leonora, souvent émouvante, dont l'amour culiminera dans les sacrifice” (The heroes confront each other with their songs ... Jennifer Rowley is an often moving Leonora whose love will culminate in sacrifice.) - Luxembourger Wort, Stephane Gilbert, February, 23, 2016
Opera de Lille - Leonora, Il Trovatore
Verdi offre aux femmes ses chants les plus désespérés et les plus émouvants : Jennifer Rowley triomphe sans filet des airs sublimes – et si contrastés – de Leonora…" (Verdi offers to the ladies his most desperate and moving moments: Jennifer Rowley triumphs the sublime and contrasted arias of Leonora...) -La Croix, Emmanuelle Giuliani, January 19, 2016
"La voix longue et colorée, la soprano américaine Jennifer Rowley incarne une Leonora aussi déterminée que sensible." (With a full range and colorful voice, the American soprano Jennifer Rowley incarnates a Leonora full of determination and sensitivity.) -Les Echos, Philippe Venturini, January 17, 2016
"Jennifer Rowley est parfaite dans le rôle de Leonora : ses solos sont de véritables morceaux de bravoure, dont elle s’empare avec délectation." (Jennifer Rowley is perfect in the role of Leonora: her solos are real moments of bravery and she uses them with an infinite delight.) -Toute La Culture, Audrey Chaix, January 21, 2016
"Du coup, l'émouvante Leonora de la soprano Jennifer Rowley s'impose comme la seule véritable héroïne duTrouvère…” (The moving Leonora of Soprano Jennifer Rowley becomes the only real heroin of Trovatore....) -Telerama, Sophie Bourdais, January 18, 2016
"Autre incarnation formidable, celle de Jennifer Rowley en Leonora…la soprano américaine maîtrise au plus haut point sa voix, vibrante et corsée, conduit rigoureusement le phrasé et soude au mieux les registres." (Another formidable interpretation is Jennifer Rowley as Leonora…the American soprano masters to the maximum her vibrant and full voice, masters the vocal line and links perfectly the different registers.) -ConcertoNet, Sébastien Foucart, January 19, 2016
"Soprano américaine dont on apprend, interloqué, en lisant sa biographie qu’elle fut un jour Musetta, Jennifer Rowley offre à Leonora une voix charpentée suffisamment agile pour se plier à une écriture encore véloce. Quelques aigus filés sont du meilleur effet.” (While we are surprised to read in her bio that at one point she sung Musetta, Jennifer Rowley gives to the part of Leonora a well built voice with a great agility able to render the velocity of the music. The sustained high notes are wonderful.) -ForumOpera, Christophe Rizoud, January 14, 2016
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden - Musetta, La Boheme
The other bohemians - are strong singers, characterized conventionally. No surprises there, but the best comes from Jennifer Rowley who plays Musetta as an over-the-top, bottom-wiggling, good time girl who ends her show stopper by snapping a billiard cue across her thigh. Strong girl, but she melts affectingly in the final act, which Copley stages as tenderly and unfussily as the fabulously multi-leveled Cafe Momus scene is farcical and bustling." - The Times, Richard Morrison, May 26, 2015
"Jennifer Rowley might have been allowed a case of the jitters: she was making her Royal Opera debut after having been dropped from Robert le Diable in 2013 and she had to compete with Anna Netrebko. But no jitters were detectable. She got everybody's attention with her flirtation but also, crucially, with her voice. It's a sizable soprano, attractive high and low and well under control, and she used it cannily. Actually, there may have been a bit of competition. At the end of the great second act ensemble, a Pavarotti will some times seize the chance to crown the penultimate chord with a blazing high note: this time, Musetta sailed up...and held it, loudly, while Mimi, not to be out done, hurled the same note into the hall at the same full strength, and held it too. It was a rousing moment." - Opera Magazine, Russ McDonald, July/August Issue 2015
"With the newcomer Jennifer Rowley and Lucas Meachem making strong impressions as Musetta and Marcello, Copley’s staging goes out on a high." - The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning, June 7, 2015
"The American Soprano Jennifer Rowley, making her house debut, had a great success with Musetta." - Harpers Bazaar, George Smart, May 27, 2015
"His bohemian friends are a rather surly lot...Jennifer Rowley’s Musetta supplies the fun, also some gleaming top notes." - The Financial Times, Richard Fairman, June 3, 2015
"The iconic Café Momus scene shines as brightly as it ever did, and on this occasion benefits from a splendid performance from Jennifer Rowley, making her Royal Opera debut as Musetta. She does not just reveal a sense of expectancy in the way that she treats Alcindoro and Marcello, but positively tests the limits to which she can push them as she smashes plates, hurls chalk and sprinkles salt and pepper over them. Her ‘Quando me’n vo’ reveals such a full, rounded soprano voice..." - Music OMH, Sam Smith, May 26, 2015
"Another import American soprano Jennifer Rowley was a suitably fickle and fiery Musetta with an open, bright, and attractively toned voice that sounded as if she might step up to become Mimì one day." - Seen and Heard International, Alastair Muir, May 23, 2015
"Royal Opera audiences were deprived of an earlier chance to hear American soprano Jennifer Rowley when she was summarily dropped, amid unwelcome publicity, from the cast of Robert le Diable. That was in 2012. Three years on she's back, a ravishing vocal presence, to sing a bewitching Musetta alongside the expressive and deftly characterised Marcello of her fellow-countryman Lucas Meachem." - What’s on Stage, Mark Valencia, May 28, 2015
"Just about keeping up with the lovers' compelling romance, a brilliant support cast were led by Jennifer Rowley, magnificent as tart-with-a-heart Musetta... - BroadwayWorld.com, Gary Naylor, June 11, 2015
"...and Jennifer Rowley was a brassy Musetta, with a touch of Ethel Merman about her gusto." - The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, May 24, 2015
"...It’s a first-rank partnership, well-matched by impressive turns from Americans Jennifer Rowley (Musetta) and Lucas Meachem (Marcello)." - The Stage, Graham Rogers, May 26, 2015
"The second couple were American. Lucas Meachem is becoming a firm favourite at this house and his burly Marcello looked and sounded handsome, his disbelief at the end Act 4 very touching. Musetta was Jennifer Rowley, making an overdue house debut. She gave notice of an important singer—brassy and comic (and a dab hand at billiards) in Act 2, moving and sincere later on, delivered with a bright and ample soprano of which I would be happy to hear more." - Tamonophile.com, Ed Beveridge, May 23, 2015
SemperOper Dresden - Tosca, title role
“Die amerikanische Sopranistin Jennifer Rowley, die 2014 die Musetta an der Met sang, gab nun ihr Semperoper-Debüt als Tosca. Sie wirkte überzeugend als zarte, empfindsame Sängerin mit weicher Stimme, die aufgrund der Ereignisse in höchste Emphase gerät und dann mit entsprechender Lautstärke und tonärmerer Stimme ihrer Verzweiflung Ausdruck verleiht. Ihre große Arie, in der sie Scarpia um Gnade anfleht, sang sie mit viel Gefühl und dramatischer Empfindung…” (The American soprano Jennifer, that in 2014 sang Musetta at the Met, gave her SemperOper debut as Tosca. She was a convincing and delicate, sensitive singer, then in the events in which the highest emphasis was needed she expressed with appropriate volume and tone for a true voice of desperation. Her big Aria in which she begs Scarpia for mercy, she sang with much feeling and dramatic sensation…) - Der Neue Merker, Ingris Gerk, April 13, 2015
West Australian Opera - Leonora, Il Trovatore
American soprano Jennifer Rowley, making her Australian debut, is outstanding as Leonora. She has a beautifully lyrical voice, creamy and silken across the entire range with a rich coloratura and strong low register." - The Australian, Mark Coughlan, November 3, 2014
"American soprano Jennifer Rowley sang Leonora's impossibly long phrases with unhurried beauty, revealing a glorious top end as she evolved from sensual girl to grimly resolute lover." - The West Australian, Rosalind Appleby, October 31, 2014
"Making both her Australian and role debut as Leonora, soprano Jennifer Rowley is large in voice and expressive in range, displaying natural vibrancy and controlled phrasing. Opening with pensive yearning in "Tacea la notte placida", then frolicking with mature, seductive playfulness as she undresses to "Di tale amor", Rowley's Leonora continues to feed every aspect of the drama with heartfelt conviction. Culminating in her duet with di Luna in "Mira, d'acerbe lagrime", Rowley's performance tantalises with gravelly low notes, a broad middle range and feathery light highs. First freezing the performance with theatrical might to pause and weep, Rowley later erupts in a display of ecstatic coloratura as she secretly takes an overdose of pills, giving herself to di Luna in exchange for Manrico’s freedom." - Bachtrack, Paul Selar, November 3, 2014
Fired Up: Jennifer Rowley Written by Brian Manternach for Classical Singer Magazine
Jennifer Rowley's feature in Classical Singer Magazine about overcoming adversity, her triumphant Metropolitan Opera debut, and her pride in being able to guide young singers through their tough times!
In April of 2014, Jennifer had a wonderful chat on Met Opera Radio about all things Musetta, what it takes to overcome adversity, how the Met helped me bounce back, and even about upcoming debuts! Here is a link to the interview, in case you missed it!
Jennifer studied and mentored under the great Martina Arroyo for years when she was getting her start in the world of opera. It is a great honor for her to be featured on the foundation's web site, and to inspire the next generation of singers to come through Martina's program! Check out the interview here!
The rich-voiced soprano Jennifer Rowley made a splash in her house debut as Musetta, maneuvering flirtatiously through the crowds and singing with a vibrant, agile voice in “Quando me’n vo.”" - The New York Times, Vivien Schweitzer, March 24, 2014
"Also new this season is another soprano, Jennifer Rowley, who has previously made strong impressions in offbeat repertoire locally with New York City Opera and Bel Canto at Caramoor. Her healthy, rollicking voice was a neat fit for the role of the madcap playgirl Musetta, and she brought a welcome extra layer of gravitas to the final act. Usually, we have to take the character’s heart of gold on faith, but Ms. Rowley took the trouble to enact it." - New York Observer, James Jorden, March 31, 2014
"Also making a mark was another debutante, Jennifer Rowley, who as Musetta sang with a creamy soprano that embraced the music firmly and comported herself with a large-scale flirtatiousness that accorded with her Zeffirelli-conceived surroundings." - Opera Magazine, June 2014
"“The New York Times” of March 24 said of American soprano Jennifer Rowley that she “made a splash in her house debut” as the voluble yet compassionate Musetta. Absent in Act I, she makes up for lost time during Act II’s Café Momus scene. Her aria “Quando me’n vo” capped the sequence of scenes she stole, from her flamboyant entrance in a horse-drawn carriage, through countless flirtations with cast members and supernumeraries alike. Yet she conveyed Musetta’s humanness in Act III and her humanity in Act IV with sincerity equally convincing as her initial shallowness." - Examiner.com, Richard Carter, April 11, 2014
"Jennifer Rowley, this cast’s second debutante, showed off a rich, dark, but nimble voice in her performance of Musetta’s Waltz. She threw herself into the scene, playing freely with time and phrasing, and reveling in her naughtiness." - New York Classical Review, Eric C. Simpson, March 20, 2014
"Even among this tumult and distraction, Jennifer Rowley, making her house debut as Musetta, held the stage and our attention with her extraordinary stage presence. She captivated Marcello and the audience with a lush rendering of Musetta’s aria, “Quando me’n vo”. Her voice is dark and rich but also extremely flexible and clear. She is a fine and versatile actress. She has a talent for broad comedy (displayed in her act 2 interplay with Marcello) but she is also able to convey real emotion. In the death scene, Rowley made the shift believable – not always the case with this character." - ConcertoNet, Arlene Judith Klotzko, March 27, 2014
"Jennifer Rowley’s Musetta, audible even amidst throngs, was more accurately and vibrantly sung than most; if she went for brash vulgarity in Franco Zeffirelli’s circus-style Act II, it’s hard to blame her. Act IV’s prayer augured well for more substantial assignments." - Gay City News, David Shengold, May 14, 2014
"... it was his partner, debutant Jennifer Rowley, who made the bigger impact. With a supple instrument and shimmering high notes, the audience could not help but fall under her spell. She was electric onstage, filling out Musetta’s oversized persona with a wealth of spunk and charm." - Columbia Spectator, Chris Browner, March 28, 2014
"Jennifer Rowley was a charismatic Musetta. Her entrance in Act 2 was marked by terrifically rambunctious behavior that included a piercing, but appropriate, scream when she pretended to have pain on her foot. In that same act she toyed with Marcello to emphasize her power; at one point she twirled her arm around him and watched his head spin around in circles. The singing in the "Quando men vo soletta per la via" had sensuality in the silky legato lines that occasionally featured pointed accents and excited high notes; there was certain frenzy at the apex of the phrases that further emphasized her excitable nature. There was also a viciousness in the character as she threw plates on the floor and bullied Marcello in the third act argument; during this particular scene she seemed to relish the insults that she tossed his way. In many ways it seemed that she was playing with him; it was a truly refreshing approach to the comical scene. Rowley's appearance in the final act showcased a completely changed Musetta. She was gentle in her singing and pleading in her gazes toward Marcelo. Their hug in the final moments of the opera, provided some hope for their reconciliation, but also emphasized the pain they were both enduring." - Latinos Post, David Salazar, March 31, 2014
Spoleto Festival USA - Carmela, Mese Mariano and Anna, Le Villi
At Spoleto, [the two operas] also provided a showcase for Jennifer Rowley, an exciting young dramatic soprano... The core of the piece is the grandly anguished role of Carmela, and Ms. Rowley tore into it with gusto. She has a big, gleaming soprano, evenly produced and, for the most part, well-controlled, ably standing up to the swooning orchestration and its sentimental touches of harp and organ... Ms. Rowley made the most of her impassioned farewell." - The Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson, May 28, 2013
"Two Italian one-acts, Umberto Giordano's Mese Mariano and Giacomo Puccini's early work Le Villi (seen May 25), packed tragedy into a brief span at Sottile Theatre. The American premiere of Matsukaze, written by Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa to a German libretto by Hannah Dübgen, glittered through gloom at Dock Street Theatre on May 24. These pieces shared four elements — rarity, extraordinary (if sometimes obtuse) stagings, intense emotions and performances by sopranos with handsome, well-controlled voices.
...Rowley sang with a large voice that could also be plaintive and subdued." - Opera News, Larry Toppman, July 2013
"Jennifer Rowley sang the leading soprano role with sensitivity and admirable restraint...
Rowley projected a confident voice, with plush contours and a velvety top. Her love duet with superb Dinyar Vania was a knockout." - Opera Magazine, Jack Sullivan, October 2013
"Soprano Jennifer Rowley appears as the protagonist in both works. It's been said she has "a big voice," but what I heard was a warm and round voice that had no trouble anywhere in her range. There was an evenness and reliability that surely is the envy of many singers.
Rowley's voice is at once sturdy and supple. Her high notes soar and shine. Her talent and training, her youth, her vocal flexibility and her stage presence likely will propel her to the world's most important opera houses and get her a variety of great roles. Spoleto audiences are fortunate to get this chance to hear a star in the making.
Everything about the presentation Saturday night was spot on, all the details in place... Rowley found just the right balance between realism and pathos. The opera brought a lump to my throat." - The Post and Courier, May 26, 2013
"As Carmela, the visiting mother, soprano Jennifer Rowley (she sang the female lead in both operas) was simply magnificent. What a voice: a gleaming, full-dramatic instrument of huge power and even tone throughout her entire range... As Anna, Jennifer Rowley's amazing voice simply floored her fortunate listeners yet again, and her acting served her well as she made the transition from a giddy, lovestruck girl to a jilted (and dead) madwoman." - Lindsay Koob, Charleston City Paper, May, 2013
"If you get a ticket to see the Le Villi/Mese Mariano opera twinbill at Sottile Theatre, you won't need to sit close to hear the singing star. Jennifer Rowley is the most powerful soprano voice to hit Spoleto Festival USA since Sondra Radvanovsky sang the title role of Verdi's Luisa Miller in 2000. Radvanovsky had the vocal artillery to overpower cavernous Gaillard Auditorium, and Rowley makes equally quick work of the Sottile with her potent larynx." - Perry Tannenbaum, Yahoo! News, May 31, 2013
The curtain raiser was Giordano’s 1910 “bozzetto lirico” (“lyric sketch”), just over 30 minutes. While well orchestrated, it’s only fitfully of melodic interest...Rowley was exceptionally strong dramatically and vocally as the unhappy mother." - David Shengold, Gay City News, June 2013
"The music sometimes sounds like outtakes from a Giacomo Puccini opera, but Jennifer Rowley unleashed a powerfully moving voice as the guilt-ridden mom... Soprano Rowley returned as Anna, singing as vibrantly as before in the role of a cast-aside sweetheart." - Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer, May, 2013
"What really made these operas worth attending was the tour de force performance by Jennifer Rowley, a young dramatic soprano with a large, focused sound. She played the central character in both of the operas, showing a nice range and bringing both to life." - James L. Paulk, Arts Atl, June 5, 2013
Savonlinna Opera Festival - Lucifer, Free Will
Solisteista vahvimpia olivat Cynthia Hannan Jeanne d'Arc ja Jennifer Rowley Luciferina." (Strongest soloists were Cynthia Hanna's Joan of Arc and Jennifer Rowley's Lucifer.) - Itä-Savo, Riitta-Leena Lempinen-Vesa, July 26, 2012
"Lucifer är dock en lyckad skapelse och stark uppenbarelse - det är en kvinna, sopranen Jennifer Rowle [sic]! Bastianel, en hädangången själ, tolkas också utm." (Lucifer is a successful creative and powerful revelation - and it's a woman! Beautiful soprano Jennifer Rowley.) - HBL.fi, Wilhelm Kvist, July 23, 2012
"Rooleissaan tuntuivat kuitenkin tukevimmin olevan kiinni Matias Tosi Oscar Wildena ja Jennifer Rowley Luciferina. Molemmissa roolisuorituksissa päästiin pintaa syvemmälle. Onnistujiin kuului myös kuoro, mikä hehkutti ajoittain positiivisia väristyksiä nostattaen." (However, the roles that really stood out were Matias Tosi's Oscar Wilde as Jennifer Rowley's Lucifer. Both reached below the surface to create shivering performances.) - Etelä-Saimaa, Jukka Lind, July 27, 2012
New York City Opera - Queen Orasia, Orpheus
The soprano Jennifer Rowley holds nothing back in her scenery-chewing, vocally visceral portrayal of Orasia... she inhabits the role, attacks the fiery coloratura passagework and sends steely phrases flying." - The New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, May 13, 2012
"Jennifer Rowley sang the nasty queen Orasia with a succulent voice and undisciplined abandon..." - New York Magazine, Justin Davidson, May 20, 2012
"Even with a readily identifiable villain, Orasia is nevertheless a complex figure. Jennifer Rowley, a recent winner of the Richard Tucker Career Grant, lent her creamy yet supple soprano to the role. Equally spellbinding, however, were her dramatic impulses, imbuing the character with sympathy and pathos. Initially, Orasia doesn't seem evil, just complicated in a time when emotions - and their ensuing breakdowns - were verboten.
And what breakdowns they are. In one of her first act arias, Rowley hits a delirious high while commanding her heart to rouse itself, simultaneously crushing a champagne flute in her bare hand. The subsequent aria is all eyes and guns blazing as the queen steels herself for revenge. It's no small wonder that this singer earned the highest accolades of the evening when it came time for curtain calls." - WQXR,Olivia Giovetti, May 14, 2012
"Jennifer Rowley played up Orasia's hysterical tendencies, imparting a diva presence to the vocally demanding role..." - New Jersey Star Ledger, Ronni Reich, May 18, 2012
"Jennifer Rowley, as Orasia, began the opera with a three-aria tour de force, singing in a flexible chiaroscuro soprano...another lament, about Orpheus, in German and fiery vengeance aria, as her love for Orpheus turned to hatred, remained for Rowley to cap her triumphant evening, before she killed Orpheus." - Q-OnStage, Bruce-Michael Gelbert, May 2012
"Queen Orasia, the evening's prima donna, was Jennifer Rowley, whose voice has the size and authority of a major spinto, as she demonstrated last month in the Verdi Requiem with the St. Cecilia Chorus at Carnegie Hall... it is a soprano of rare quality, full of power but never at the cost of beauty, surprising flexibility and great precision of ornament. Orasia is usually seething, and when she is flirtatious she's usually lying; the contrast of mood suited Rowley..." - Parterre.com, May 16, 2012
Den Norske Opera - Musetta, La Boheme
The best part: Musetta’s big scene in the Cafe is sung and played brilliantly by Jennifer Rowley, who at times threatens to out shine Mimi vocally." - Morgenbladet, Erling E. Guldbrandsen, January 31, 2012
”Even the vampire lured out of Musetta in her blinding, erotic aria. Brava!...Jennifer Rowley was infernal in the key role of Musetta, well within the limits of displacement in her wonderful world.” - NRK, Ragnhild Veirs, January 22, 2012
"Jennifer Rowley was a ravishing Musetta..." -Opernwelt, Andreas Bucker, March 2012 Issue
"Jennifer Rowley amazed as Musetta..." - Neue Musikzeitung, Von Jörn Florian Fuchs, January 22, 2012
Savonlinna Opera Festival - Donna Anna, Don Giovanni
Jennifer Rowley captured Donna Anna's anguish and conflicting emotions with a magnificently vibrant voice." - Opera Now, Karyl Charna Lynn, Jan 1, 2012
"Young Jennifer Rowley is a movingly sublime Donna Anna, drifting to the borderline of madness and singing dazzlingly beautifully and nobly in her lyrical soprano, which also has a dramatic radiance." - Helsingin Sanomat, Hannu-Ilari Lampila, July 3, 2011
”Jennifer Rowley’s uninhibited spellbinding performance is a rare treat in these waters. Burning with emotions of love and the torment of disappointments and betrayal, her figure dominates the stage regally… Such apt and well-projected gesturing, including flickering of the eyes, is hard to find. Her soprano has strength and breadth, and an indescribable richness of tone.” - Uutispäivä Demari, Matti Saurama, July 5, 2011
"...of a cast made of good performers, among them stood out the complex and fascinating, dramatically and vocally, Jennifer Rowley as Donna Anna..." - ArtistallOpera, Serenella Gragnani, July 19, 2011
”Jennifer Rowley’s soprano(Donna Anna)sounds rich and vibrant.” - Turun Sanomat, July 3, 2011
Caramoor Music Festival - Title role, Maria di Rohan
The Bel Canto training program at the Caramoor Festival must be doing something right, if one of its young artists can step in at the last moment to the demanding title role of a little-known Donizetti opera and emerge not just unscathed, but a real star.
...cover artist Jennifer Rowley had just two days and one rehearsal to figure out the vocal pacing and balance, along with the semi-staging of the three-act work, sung without scores. From the biting cry of "Rival! Se tu sapessi" that launches Maria's first cavatina, Rowley revealed a commanding soprano voice, richly colored, with an attractive thrust and full control of trills, roulades and vocal shadings. In addition, her powerful low notes balanced a resplendent top. The audience, prepared to support the understudy politely, seemed amazed at its good fortune, and as the evening progressed, Rowley's poise and authority deepened into a galvanizing vocal and musical portrayal...If all the understudies were as well prepared as Rowley, the future of bel canto singing is in good hands." - Judith Malafronte, Opera News, October Online Exclusive, 2010
"The show went on with Jennifer Rowley as her impressive replacement after just one rehearsal...Donizetti denied his heroine the final aria she might normally have been allotted... Still, Ms. Rowley had plenty of other opportunities to shine, as in "Cupa fatal mestizia," her poignantly rendered Act I aria. Throughout, she sang with a fluid, darkly rich voice and expressively conveyed Maria's anguish over her affair with Riccardo and her guilt for betraying her nice-guy husband." - Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, July 26, 2010
"As to the main event - Maria di Rohan - as with the previous week's Norma we were treated to an electric performance. The intrepid cover, Jennifer Rowley, crowned herself with laurels. Her performance was simply stunning, doubly so given the limited rehearsal time she's rumored to have had. She has a gleaming, bright tone, an attractive vibrato (reminiscent of Opera Rara's early diva Janet Price); it's a voice with a lot of color, dark at the bottom, bright and gleaming at the top. Her coloratura, while not always perfectly articulated, was quite good and she has a very nice trill. Her dramatic ability was absolutely stellar - she made the heroine's plight completely believable without overacting." - Dan Foley, The Donizetti Society Journal No.111, October 2010
"The evening's unexpected visitor was the soprano who took on the title role as the Countess of Rohan, a noblewoman in the Parisian court of Louis XIII who is torn between love for the tenor and obligation to her baritone husband, Enrico.
When rising star Takesha Meshe Kizart became ill and canceled the day before the performance, her understudy, Jennifer Rowley, stepped in with just one rehearsal.
To say that the young singer from Ohio acquitted herself well would be severe understatement. Rowley proved fully equal to the demands of a role that requires both coloratura dexterity and dramatic power beyond the limits of a lyric soprano. She can sing with melting purity, but her voice also takes on an intriguing, dark-tinged color at times...
Perhaps most impressive of all, given the circumstances, was her involvement in the role dramatically and her ability in a concert performance to make the countess's somewhat implausible plight seem compelling.
At the end, her eyes brimmed with tears in response to the cheers from an audience that had filled the tented Venetian Theater despite oppressive heat and humidity." - Mike Silverman, The Washington Post (AP), July 25, 2010
"Last night the audience again braved the heat to hear the substitute Jennifer Rowley sing Maria for the first time. And she also triumphed. When she first made her appearance with the words "Stringe l'ora: M'udite" it was clear that this was going to be an exciting evening. She shortly followed with the beautiful "Cupa fatal mestizia" and there was no turning back. She exhibited both power and tenderness. Her high notes were clear and confident. Her cabaletta "Ben fu il giorno avventurato" was particularly exciting as was her Act III prayer (without the cabaletta)... Not surprisingly the crowd cheered her on throughout the evening, culminating in ecstatic applause." - Lewis M. Schneider, Musicweb International, July, 2010
"Jennifer Rowley... sang with only one rehearsal and deserved every bit of applause received and more for her exceptional and very moving work. Her voice is large and luscious, a truly important instrument wedded to wonderful interpretive powers. She is on the road to a great career with major debuts coming up." - Alexandra Zalska, Playbill Arts, July 30, 2010
"The severely-pressed Maria was miraculously sung by the cover, Jennifer Rowley, on two days notice... this was a thrilling chance, which Ms. Rowley seized with velveteen outpourings that delighted the already overheated crowd." - Richard Traubner, MusicalCriticism.com, July 31, 2010
"Jennifer Rowley sang with a handsomely textured and richly resonant soprano. She had the role securely in hand... Maria's prayer, Havvi un Dio, with English horn obbligato, was touchingly done." - George Loomis, The Classical Review, July 27, 2010