“Vocally Rowley was in fine form throughout the night, especially during her arias. “Io son l’umile ancella” was marked by a seemingly endless vocal line supporting by virtuosic breath support. Every single phrase in the aria’s opening sections felt like one connected line, growing and building toward the climactic final lines. The final phrases were potent in how long Rowley stretched them with seeming ease. The final high A flat on “Morrà” crescendoed sublimely into the space. From start to finish, Rowley’s rendition of the aria had a resplendent beauty packaged with pitch-perfect polish.
Similarly polished in execution was “Poveri fiori,” though Rowley did noticeably spin her vibrato more intensely as the aria built to its final moments; it created a sense of agitation that contrasted heavily with the more tranquil atmosphere she created in “Io sono l’umile ancella.”
She was also potent during the famed monologue in the third act, opting for combining singing with straight declamation, to strong effect. The monologue sits low and when delivered in full speaking voice, can create a jarring transition to the sung climax, the soprano potentially losing her footing on the first notes. By choosing to mix the two styles of vocalization, the transition to the climax was spot on when it came time for her to throw out those final lines and the effect was imposing.”