Jennifer Rowley Gala





FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25 (7:15 PM), 2019 at the Valentine Theatre


Spend a gala evening featuring Metropolitan Opera soprano and Toledo Opera favorite Jennifer Rowley. 

Gala Dinner in Grand Lobby and Concert - $250

Cocktails begin at 6 PM

Concert begins at 7:15 PM

Dinner begins at 8:30 PM

Concert only - $100

Sponsorship tables begin at $3,000 (Call 419.255.7464 for more information)




Jennifer Rowley, Soprano

Soprano Jennifer Rowley is acclaimed worldwide for her unforgettable voice and remarkable stage presence, singing a richly varied repertoire that includes many of opera’s greatest heroines. In the 2018/19 season, Ms. Rowley returned to The Metropolitan Opera for the title roles in Puccini’s 'Tosca' and her debut as Cilea’s 'Adriana Lecouvreur', with several additional engagements to follow at The Met through 2020.

This season also marks her first appearance with Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, singing Leonora in Verdi’s Il trovatore, and she will return later in the season as the soprano soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 under the direction of Fabio Luisi. At her alma mater, Baldwin Wallace University, Jennifer served as the 2018-19 Artist-in-Residence where she will teach masterclasses and lessons, in addition to presenting a recital. She will also return to the Semperoper Dresden for her first performances as Valentine in Les Huguenots. In future seasons, she will make debuts at Dallas Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, Opera Australia, and Opéra de Marseille.

In the 2017/18 season, Ms. Rowley returned to The Metropolitan Opera in their new production of Puccini’s Tosca where she presented a “magnificent” (ZealNYC) portrayal of the tragic diva. She later starred as Leonora in Il trovatore on the Met stage, celebrated as “glorious, showing the listener the range her instrument truly possesses” (Operawire). She then made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in a concert version of Tosca with Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Earlier in the season she performed the same title role with Nashville Opera. She started the summer with her Opéra National de Paris debut as Leonora in Il trovatore: “… an acclaimed debut on the Opéra Bastille stage … the singer’s youthful tone, her brilliant sound and her ability to emit beautiful spun lines which are marvelous … she seems perfectly at ease.” (Forum Opéra). Hailed as a “force of nature from beginning to end” (Operawire) and as “spectacular” (Wall Street Journal) in her portrayal, Jennifer ended the season with her debut in the title role of Simon Mayr’s rarely performed bel canto opera Medea in Corinto at Will Crutchfield’s newly-formed summer festival, Teatro Nuovo.

Jennifer Rowley’s triumphant Metropolitan Opera role début as Roxane in Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac (2017) inspired universal critical praise, with The New York Times raving that this was a “break-through moment,” further adding that for the heartbreaking final scene, “Ms. Rowley sang with an intensity of expression and a subtly embittered sound that suggested a singer for enormous gift and promise.” The New York Classical Review echoed these statements, also calling this “a break out night for Ms. Rowley.” Operawire called her Roxane “the heart of the production,” The Observer said she is “a superb artist” and compared her beauty and expressive face to that of Marion Cotillard, while ConcertoNet called her Roxane “a revelation.” Ms. Rowley made her Met stage debut in a sparkling portrayal of Musetta in Puccini’s La bohème.

In recent seasons, Ms. Rowley sang a trio of European performances as Leonora in Il trovatore at Opéra de Lille, Théâtre de Caen in France, and the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, as well as Tove in Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP). Additional engagements included debuts as Musetta in La bohème at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Leonora in Il trovatore at the West Australian Opera in Perth; and the title role of Tosca at the Semperoper Dresden. Other notable successes include the title role of Tosca with New Orleans Opera and her title role debut in Barber’s Vanessa with Toledo Opera.

A highly-decorated soprano who has been recognized by many international competitions, Jennifer Rowley was awarded the 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant, was one of the top prize winners in the 2013 Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition and the 2011 Opera Index Vocal Competition, a winner of the 2011 William Mattheus Sullivan Musical Foundation awards, a first prize-winner of the 2011 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, a grant winner of the 2011 Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Competition, and the winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for the Michigan District.


Ms. Rowley's performance is made possible by a collaboration with BGSU College of Musical Arts.


 Kevin Bylsma, Piano

With more than two decades experience as a vocal coach, collaborative pianist, choral conductor, and organist, Kevin J. Bylsma is a musician of impressive depth and ability, well known for his work in opera, art song, and oratorio. A longtime member of the Toledo Opera staff as Head of Music Preparation and Chorus Master, Kevin was formerly Music Director of the Department of Community Programs for the Michigan Opera Theatre and vocal coach, accompanist, and chorus master for OPERA! Lenawee. In recitals and master classes, he has collaborated with the great American singers Samuel Ramey, Diane Soviero, Marilyn Horne, Michelle De Young, and Irina Mishura. He is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ann Arbor Festival of Song, and his solo piano performances and collaborative work have been featured on WTGE’s Live from FM91 program. Dedicated to the education and training of the next generation of operatic talent, Mr. Bylsma is Instructor of Opera and repetiteur at Bowling Green State University’s College of Musical Arts, responsible for vocal coaching and serving as a collaborative pianist for the school’s large body of young singers. Mr. Bylsma also serves on the artistic staff of OperaWorks, an intensive opera training program, based in Los Angeles, CA. and he is the Associate Organist of the historic Mariner’s Church of Detroit.

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