|  Critical Acclaim

New Orleans Opera - Tosca, Title Role

Opera News

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.”

– George Dansker, Opera News, 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…”

– Jack Belsom, Opera Magazine, 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.”

– David Browning, The Huffington Post, 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.”

– Dean M. Shapiro, The Advocate, April 9, 2016

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