“Rowley was powerful as Cio-Cio-San, receiving enthusiastic applause for her performance of “Un bel di vedremo.” She portrayed an intentional Butterfly and avoided conveying an ingénue. She sang with feeling and conviction, sailing through her high notes and blossoming in the second act.”
Palm Beach Daily News
“Rowley has sung Tosca, Aida and other classic roles. But until Friday night, the American soprano had never portrayed one of the most famous heroines in opera, the betrayed, doomed Japanese teenager of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
Palm Beach Opera’s season opened at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach with Rowley giving an affecting, richly sung and dramatic performance in Puccini’s masterpiece. Her portrayal of Cio-Cio-San, first seen as a 15-year-old girl about to wed the dashing American naval officer B.F. Pinkerton, exuded vulnerability and seriousness, with less of the girlish, coquettish quality some singers bring to the role.
Rowley appeared first crossing the footbridge, as she excitedly approached her impending marriage with the American officer. In “Ancora un passo (“One step more”), as she nears the house surrounded by relatives, her sensitive phrasing expressed the hopefulness, shyness, joy and excitement of undertaking what she thought would be her new life.
…Rowley’s plush voice and seamless phrasing helped create a vivid portrayal of Butterfly’s transformation from hopeful newlywed to devastated woman facing a terrible reality. Her performance of “Un bel dì” (“One fine day”), an aria celebrated for its climactic high notes, was notable for the rich tones of her lower register as she spun her elaborate, desperate fantasy of Pinkerton’s return.
In the final scene, as Butterfly solemnly faced reality and embraced her fate, she brought to the role an immense dignity and emotional maturity that seemed a far distance from 15-year-old girl of the opera’s beginning.”
South Florida Classical Review