"Brilliant" Robert Hugill
Carol Rowlands as Babulenka
The Gambler, Grange Park, 2007

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Frieze of pictures showing Carol Rowlands, mezzo soprano in various roles

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The Gambler

Carol Rowlands, mezzo soprana as Babulenka in The Gambler"Whilst on stage Rowlands dominated the action, as she should. Rowlands relished the fact that Babulenka is essentially unlikeable and knows it, using her fortune as a weapon."

– Robert Hugill

Click here to go to full Gambler review page.



The Turn of the Screw (cont)

Opera Autumn 2000 Tim Ashley
"In a brilliant stroke of casting, Moshinsky uses Carol Rowlands as Mrs Grose, no elderly frump but a mature beautiful woman. This is, without question, the definitive Turn of the Screw for our times."

Music and Vision Roderic Dunnett
"Rowlands' Mrs Grose was a performance of massive strength. When the two (Governess and Housekeeper) reached the point of crisis, their exchange was almost, dare one say, orgasmic."

Metro Life Warwick Thompson
"Some thrilling performances, especially Carol Rowlands as the Housekeeper, keep the chills coming."

The Independent Roderic Dunnett
"When Alison Rae-Jones' involving Governess and Carol Rowlands' superbly sung Mrs Grose enter the audience at fulcral moments our horror, as well as theirs, is redoubled."

Punch and Judy Music Theatre Wales 1998
The Times Barry Millington
"... while Carol Rowlands was an impressive Judy"

Opera Stephen Pettitt
"Carol Rowlands' Judy was equally good, negotiating Birtwistle's tortuous though sometimes rhapsodic line with commendable sureness."

Birmingham Post Christopher Morley (06.07.98)
"The Judy of Carol Rowlands displays an impressive range of vocal resource."

Oxford Mail
Chris Gray (10.11.98)
"The singing was of the highest order, notably that of Gwion Thomas and Carol Rowlands in the title roles."


Marry me a little (Sondheim) Glasgow 1994/5
Evening Times (7.3.94) Ian Black
"Rowlands sang Sondheim's songs thrillingly. She made a sexy romp out of 'Can that boy foxtrot'."

The Herald (6.3.94) Keith Bruce
"Rowlands' pronunciation of 'foxtrot' was more suggestive of horizontal dancing."

The Herald (3.5.95) Michael Tumelty
"Carol Rowlands quivers with anticipation in the title song ... Rowlands, sexy and mobile of face ..."

The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein Scottish Opera-go-round 1994
Inverness Courier (13.9.94)
"Carol Rowlands brings star quality to the role of the Duchess. She's an assured and uninhibited actress with a rich mezzo-soprano voice ..."

Southern Reporter (20.10.94)
"Carol Rowlands held the audience in her hand throughout the show in the title role: she is obviously a stunning talent."

Inverurie Advertiser (20.10.94) Margo Barron
"Rowlands rose brilliantly to the challenge and showed that she is a singing actress of considerable ability. Her performance was both imperious and louche, and she even made the dreadful woman vulnerable."

Deeside Piper (7.10.94)
"Rowlands acted the part of the flirty female with tremendous panache and a voice to match."

Carluke Gazette (20.10.94)
"– a memory that remains, the Duchess Carol Rowlands' fine singing of her main aria 'Tell him'."

Aberdeen Press and Journal (30.9.94) Alan Cooper
"Rowlands led the cast with powerful and ever-supple singing and a comic incarnation of the man-eating woman who fancies anything in a uniform."

Cavalleria Rusticana Opera South 1990
The Stage (2.8.90) John Hannam
"Rowlands stole the entire night with an incredible portrayal of Santuzza. From her slight frame came a magnificent voice, full of expression – her acting was equally magnetic."

Cavalleria Rusticana Scottish Opera-go-round 1989
The Times (31.8.89) John Higgins
"...Carol Rowlands's powerfully projected Santuzza, giving a proper taste of Mediterranean jealousy. She knows how to act and is to be watched."

Inverness Courier (24.10.89) Jim Love
"Carol Rowlands' Santuzza dominated the production – she gave an acting and singing performance of spell-binding intensity."

Glasgow Herald (288.8.89) Wilma Paterson
"Rowlands' performance as Santuzza was carefully controlled and expressive of contained but real pain."

Sunday Times (3.9.89) Hugh Canning
"Mascagni's Sicilian naturalism was impeded, and only the impassioned Santuzza of Carol Rowlands really survived the treatment."

Orfeo ed Euridice John Curry Singers
"Possessed of a sensual, blood-coloured voice, fully flexible dynamic range and sackloads of rich emotional impact, Rowlands delivered an Orfeo of heroic stature with pathos to spare. There's only one word. Marvellous." – Janice Galloway Glasgow Herald.


Gloriana Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 2013
Seen and Heard International Mark Berry

"Smaller roles such as Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Bayley), Sir Robert Cecil (Jeremy Carpenter), and Carol Rowlands’s splendidly shrewish London Housewife offered ample opportunity for care with words and music ..."

Spear's Melinda Hughes

"A special mention must also go to the rich-toned and jovial Ben Bevan who made his ROH debut as Henry Cuffe; Carol Rowlands’ hilarious characterisation of a gossiping housewife."

Planet Hugill Robert Hugill

"Jeremy White was a nicely doddery Recorder of Norwich and Carol Rowlands a very pointed housewife."

The Gambler Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 2010
Seen and Heard Opera Review Mark Berry

"The Royal Opera's new production of The Gambler seems to me close to an unqualified success. ... This was in most respects a fine achievement, for which three cheers should go to the Royal Opera. ...

Other characters come and go – this is not a criticism, but an observation of how the opera works – but special mention might go to Mark Stone's enigmatic Mr Astley, a lynchpin and yet not, and Carol Rowlands's telling Lady Comme ci, Comme ça: concerned or detached, who knows?

Eugene Onegin Iford Festival 2009,
Music Criticism.com Mike Reynolds
"But the best all-round assumption of a supporting role came from the first-class Carol Rowlands as nurse Filippevna, who used the Iford space as if it really were her own, and worked tirelessly and yet unobtrusively to develop her character ... The character interplay between Tatiana and her old nurse in the letter scene was touching and effective."

Opera Magazine Rian Evans

"Carol Rowlands was an involving Filipyevna ..."


"Carol Rowlands makes a more than usually detailed Filipyevna ..."

Punch and Judy Music Theatre Wales 2008,
Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House
Seen and Heard Opera Review Mark Berry
"Carol Rowlands proved a powerful musical actress as Judy"

The Stage George Hall
"Carol Rowlands' performances as Judy and the Fortune Teller are masterly."

The Times Richard Morrison
"They aren't afraid to use their voices in the way that Birtwistle uses instruments: with no limits. Carol Rowlands makes a stunningly grotesque Judy, turned on sexually by her own impending murder."

Warwick Thompson
"Carol Rowlands brings a powerful mezzo to Judy."

Observer Anthony Holden
"... and outstanding cast, stunningly directed by Michael McCarthy and produced by Michael Rafferty."

Evening Standard Barry Millington
"... while Carol Rowlands as Judy returns after being frenziedly stabbed to death (as do the other ritually murdered characters) to make strong contributions as a Chorus member and Fortune Teller."

Sunday Times Paul Driver
"Birtwhistle's Punch & Judy at the Linbury was a palpable hit, and Carol Rowlands an eloquent Judy."

The Gambler Grange Park 2007
Robert Hugill
"Carol Rowlands's entrance as Babulenka ... was brilliant." (More details in panel, right)

The Stage George Hall (8.6.07)
"The cast is full of expert singing actors of the likes of Carol Rowlands ..."

Independent Anna Picard (10.6.07)
"Strong performances from Rowlands ..."

Daily Telegraph Rupert Christiansen (4.6.07)
"Carol Rowlands, Hubert Francis and Andrew Shore all make a strong mark."

Guardian George Hall (9.6.07)
"Plenty of purposeful energy from Carol Rowlands as the aunt who succumbs to the gambling bug."

Madame Butterfly London City Opera USA Tour 2003
"... Then there was the fine mezzo-soprano Carol Rowlands as Suzuki. ... She brought a welcome unaffected stage presence to her role."
"Rowlands was exceptional, dramatically and musically."

Cosi fan Tutte Longborough 2003
Morning Star, Gordon Parsons
"This production is carried by a racy English translation, by splendid acting and, of course, by Mozart. Of the fine-voiced six-member cast, Carol Rowlands takes the prize ... David Murphy (conductor) brings out the best of the company in what is the highlight of a very successful Longborough Festival Opera."

The Rake's Progress English Touring Opera 2000
Times – "What's on"
Carol Rowlands is so sparkily warm as Baba the Turk as to disarm accusations of misogyny on the part of the librettists, Auden and Kallman."

Carol Rowlands' full-toned Baba the Turk also dealt deftly with the text."

Carol Rowlands was a trenchant Baba the bearded Lady, with a nice touch of pathos when she is deserted."

The Observer Fiona Maddocks (26.03.00)
"Carol Rowlands gave an intelligent performance as Baba the Turk and was indeed a bearded lady rather than a louche cross-dresser, a curiosity rather than a stereotype, thereby challenging preconceptions all the more rigorously."

The Stage David Blewitt (09.04.00)
"Carol Rowlands is a crisply audible Baba ..."

Vision of Lear Memos Collective, Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House
The Times Rodney Milnes
"Carol Rowlands was a splendidly incisive Goneril ..."

The Turn of the Screw Broomhill Opera 2000
Sunday Telegraph (15.10.00) Michael Kennedy
"Elijah Moshinsky's production is the creepiest, most penetrating and powerful staging I have seen since the first in 1954. Carol Rowlands, an excellent singer, is an intimidating Mrs. Grose – I implore you attend this revelation."