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

"Jennifer Rowley’s huge, elemental soprano proved impressive...

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