ARTICLES (scroll down for Reviews)



"Southern Gothic" from Nashville Scene,
and Lang's The Difficulty of Crossing a Field.
Click on the photo to read the article.

"En amerikansk näktergal i stan"
from Norrköpings Tidningar,
preparing for a recital tour of Sweden
as the American Jenny Lind.
Click on the photo to read the article (in Swedish).

REVIEWS

Nashville Opera's Glory Denied (November 2016)

"We are lucky to have a singer with so clear a vocal affinity to new music as Rebecca Sjöwall. Her voice just takes to it so easily, I forget she’s singing. That's not just because of her several patter passages in Glory Denied, but the natural ease in her vocal precision and her voice' richness give a relatable life to the character. She made me feel for Alyce in a way that the set-up of the narrative discourages." - Tracy Monaghan, Schmopera

"For classical music fans in Nashville, the last couple of weeks have represented an embarrassment of riches with two wonderful concerts from the Nashville Symphony and a tragic, heartbreaking production of Tom Cipullo’s contemporary opera Glory Denied from the Nashville opera… However, the highlight of the month, and perhaps of the season, was the Nashville Opera’s Veteran’s Day production of Glory Denied at the intimate Noah Liff Opera Center. The work is a chamber opera based on an account of the life of Vietnam veteran Colonel Jim Thompson and his experience as the longest held prisoner of war in American history. John Hoomes’s production was Spartan, allowing the singers (baritone Michael Mayes, [Soprano] Rebecca Sjöwall, tenor Eric Neuville and Soprano Emma Grimsley) to shine and shifting the dramatic conflict and spotlight to the mental and emotional aspects of Cipullo’s beautiful score." - Joseph E. Morgan, Nashville Arts

Nashville Opera's NAXOS Recording of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (Released September 2016)

"The least credible role, Mrs. P, sung in a flurry of high notes and excellent musicianship and drama by soprano Rebecca Sjöwall, is also the most relatable. Ms. Sjöwall gives heartbreaking life to Mrs. P and her reaction to her husband's descent into what must look like madness. When Nashville Opera premiered the work in November, 2013, critics favored Ms. Sjöwall's dramatic screech "Philistine!" in The Paintings in Scene 5. And while it is a big, sparkly high B (I think it's a B), what I find more pleasing is Ms. Sjöwall's treatment of Mrs. P's vulnerable moments, culminating in her tender, theramin-esque vocality of Mrs. P's labored acceptance in the last track of the recording." - Tracy Monaghan, Schmopera

"The surreal difficulties endured by Mrs. P are brought into sharp focus by the singing of soprano Rebecca Sjöwall, her voice taking on a steely edge as her vocal lines climb. The mounting vexation of ‘Traffic,’ ‘The Shoe,’ and ‘The Slides’ ripples through the music, and the singers and Nashville Opera musicians channel this vehemence into their performances. In both voices and instruments, the tenderness that alters the atmosphere in ‘The River’ and ‘The Dressing Ritual’ prompts an outpouring of expressivity that thrusts the hearts of the characters and of the opera itself to the surface… In the ‘Paintings as Pathology?’, too, the composer’s innovation is spellbinding, his setting of text in ‘An Argument’ revealing the philosophical depths of his musical and dramatic sensibilities. In these more than in any other scenes in the opera, MacPherson, Treviño, and Sjöwall interact with the intuitive collaboration of chamber musicians. Theirs is the kind of give-and-take coexistence that every operatic ensemble deserves but so few receive… Treviño’s and Sjöwall’s portrayals enthrall, their singing not always polished or perfectly-tuned but never debilitatingly stilted or studied." - Joseph Newsmen, Voix des Arts

Pacific Opera Project's Falstaff (September 2015)

"The secret to POP's success is the faith it puts in singers. They have no crutches, no place to hide physically or vocally. You become invested in them as much, if not more, for whom they are than for the characters they are supposed to be… there was plenty of characterful, winning singing from Rebecca Sjöwall (Alice Ford) and Jessica Mirshak (Meg), who merrily fend off Falstaff's swaggering advances." - Mark Swed, LA Times

"Sjöwall’s vocals shimmer throughout with a shiny purity." - Falling James, LA Weekly

"Rebecca Sjowall (Alice Ford), Sharmay Musacchio (Mistress Quickly), and Jessica Mirshak (Meg Page) were lovely, quick-witted, and robust as the Merry Wives." - Courtney Blackburn, Pasadena Independent

"Rebecca Sjöwall as Alice (pronounced Ah-Lee-Chay in the Italian style) has an impressive bell-like clarity of tone." - David Mauer, Culture Spot LA

The Verdi Chorus Hidden Gems (April 2015)

"Sjöwall’s execution of 'Ebben? Ne andro lontana' was transcendent." - Steven Lieberman, Culver City Observer

Pacific Opera Project's The Turn of the Screw (January 2014)

"Intimacy also meant inescapable walls of vocal power. The spooking of soprano Rebecca Sjöwall's Governess was especially ripe in these claustrophobic surroundings." - Mark Swed, LA Times

"Rebecca Sjöwall gave an apt, bipolar performance as the Governess, striking all the right mad notes. She was a joy to watch – statuesque, a near imposing figure that yet dissolved into sloughs of hysteria. The calibrated acting that subtly and convincingly played over her face perfectly matched a clarion voice, that in the intimate space, was the next best thing to throwing a living room salon. From the Governess' initial cheery smile, fittingly fastened a notch too tightly, to her mask of dread as the story descends into darker worlds, Sjöwall inhabited the character completely. Her voice easily mastered all the tonal complexity and dissonance Britten threw at it. - RD Foster, Examiner.com

"Without soprano Sjowall's impressive performance, Turn of the Screw would have been a much less compelling production. Her dramatic expression and stunning voice exhibit great beauty and power." - Barnaby Hughes, Stage and Cinema

"From her first entrance, the Governess, played by Rebecca Sjöwall, took command of the stage with her bright and well-sculpted soprano. Her amazingly clear sound and diction gave real life to Myfanwy Piper‘s libretto. One of the musical highlights of the evening was the duet between the Governess and Mrs. Grose, played by Jennifer Wallace. Their perfect intonation and musicality were an absolute delight." - Natalie Mann, Singerpreneur

"Rebecca Sjöwall portrays the beset and possibly unhinging Governess with the necessary blend of earnestness, resolve and stark panic, particularly in the pinpoint shift from triumph to utter despair in the opera's final crisis." - George M. Wallace, afoolintheforest.com

"Half of the singing cast were new to POP, beginning with the rich soprano of Rebecca Sjöwall, who adroitly captured the Governess’ helplessness before the specters of the netherworld." - Ted Ayala, Crescenta Valley Weekly

"Rebecca Sjöwall (the governess) has a versatile voice and a striking presence." - David Maurer, Culture Spot LA

Nashville Opera's The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (November 2013)

"Sjöwall was impressive in 'Difficulty' last year and is completely entrancing this time as well. Her voice is a bright light beckoning us forward; her total immersion in character takes us through Mrs. P’s denial, anger and finally tearful acceptance of the cruel disorder that has befallen her beloved. Her climactic singing scream of “Philistine!” at Dr. S is one of the most electrifying moments I’ve experienced in more than 40 years of attending live opera and theater performances. I hope Hoomes casts this brilliant artist in Nashville Opera presentations every time he has the chance." - Evans Donnell, ArtsNash

"Los Angeles-based soprano Rebecca Sjowall, who also appeared at Nashville Opera in The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, played the long-suffering wife from whom the title takes part of its name, and was particularly astonishing in this sphere. At times playful, but mostly heartsick, she was the character the audience empathized with the most. Neither the opera's main character nor its narrator, Sjowall's Mrs. P sang the word “philistine” with such heartbreaking anger-fear that I felt the need to make up a new word to describe it just now. At the performance, all I felt were goosebumps." - Laura Hutson, Nashville Scene

"Rebecca Sjöwall lends her powerful soprano to the role of Mrs. P, navigating her character’s journey through concern, denial, sorrow and acceptance. Her final aria is particularly poignant. And Matthew Treviño is simply mesmerizing as Dr. P, delivering a thoughtful interpretation of both his character and Nyman’s compelling score. Together with Sjöwall, Treviño demonstrates Dr. P’s use of music as a coping mechanism. No longer able to trust his eyes, he relies on his music to create structure and manage routine activities such as eating and dressing. Their chemistry in 'The Dressing Ritual' speaks volumes." - Amy Stumpfl, The Tennessean

Nashville Opera's The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (November 2012)

"The singing and acting was all first rate... Soprano Rebecca Sjöwall, as Williamson’s daughter, performed with a bright tone. Her impressive technique allowed her to shift rapidly from head to chest voice without the slightest hint of stripping gears." - John Pitcher, ArtsNash

"The principal singers — the aforementioned Rivera as Mrs. Williamson, exuberant tenor Robert A. Mack as the slave Boy Sam, and soprano Rebecca Sjöwall as the Williamson Girl — are joined by familiar faces such as Brian Russell, Eric D. Pasto-Crosby, Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva and Bakari King. All turn in thoughtful performances that are guaranteed to stick with you long after the music ends." - Amy Stumpfl, The Tennessean

Arizona Opera's Orfeo ed Euridice (April 2012)

"Soprano Rebecca Sjowall in the role of Amore was perhaps the unsung hero. In her final big role as a Marion Roose Pullin Resident Artist, she proved she is ready to throw her hat in the competitive opera arena. She showcased a beautifully crisp, lyric soprano that exuded warmth, playfulness and compassion." - Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star

"Their savior, Amor, the god of love, was beautifully portrayed by Arizona Opera resident artist, Rebecca Sjöwall. She may be a singer to follow in the future." - Maria Nockin, Music & Vision

Arizona Opera's Carmen (November 2010)

"Their feminine counterparts Rebecca Sjöwall and Stephanie Foley Davis suffused their phrases with emotion as Frasquita and Mercédès. Sjöwall has lovely high notes…" - Maria Nockin, Opera Today

Arizona Opera's Pirates of Penzance (October 2010)

"With their strong performances in this show, Arizona Opera's Pullin Studio artists: Rebecca Sjöwall, soprano, as Edith, Stephanie Foley-Davis, mezzo-soprano, as Kate and Kevin Wetzel, tenor, as Sam proved that they are worthy heirs of the operetta stage. We can look forward to hearing Sjöwall as Frasquita in next month's Carmen." - Maria Nockin, Opera Today

UCLA & needtheater's world premiere of The First Lady (February 2010)

"In fact, Wells reserves his most moving aria for the character that is the piece's true dramatic heart -- Anna Roosevelt Boettiger (soprano Rebecca Sjowall in an outstanding performance). Considering that it is Anna who, out of loyalty to her father, invites Lucy to Warm Springs knowing she is also betraying Eleanor, and that the bulk of the opera concerns her attempts to win Eleanor's forgiveness, the work might be more accurately called The First Daughter." - Bill Raden, L.A. Weekly

Festival Opera's Turandot (July 2009)

"The finest vocalism and the most persuasive performance of all came from Rebecca Sjowall as the slave girl Liu, who sacrifices herself to save her beloved Calaf. Her 'Tanto amore segreto' aria, building up to the suicidal plunge of the knife into her breast, was delivered with great pathos and bell-like clarity." - Sue Gilmore, Contra Costa Times

"Soprano Rebecca Sjöwall sang a lovely and limpid Liù, making her opening plea to Calaf ('Signore, ascolta!') beautifully modulated and her closing suicide before Turandot ('Tanto amore segreto') deeply affecting." - James Keolker, San Francisco Classical Voice

"Singing the part of Liu, the peasant whose hopeless love for Calaf leads to her downfall, is Rebecca Sjöwall, and her warm soprano and soft penetrating notes brought the house down." - Piedmont Post

"Rebecca Sjöwall is engaging in her portrayal of the woman who has secretly loved her master's son since the one day he cast a smile her way...Sjöwall's tender-yet-mature voice is well suited to the character." - Martinez Gazette

San Francisco Lyric Opera's Rigoletto (April 2009)

"His daughter Gilda, sung by Rebecca Sjöwall, showed real promise. Lovely to look at, with a bearing and countenance that I hope will grow more animated with additional stage experience, the two-time District Winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions recently received her master's of music in vocal performance from UCLA. The voice grows lovelier and stronger as it rises far above the stave, culminating in an impressive high E-flat." - Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice

"The three principal characters are particularly solid, discharging their signature scenes with flair (Rigoletto and Gilda's father-daughter duet at the end of Act II is especially affecting)...León as the Duke is all careless, oily charm, singing of woman's fickleness even while the smitten Gilda plots to save his life by sacrificing hers. Sjöwall brings a powerhouse voice to that role, nicely embodying both naiveté and passion." - Emily Hilligoss, SF Weekly

"Having sat through plenty of mediocre performances at regional opera companies in cities like Norfolk, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Miami, I was deeply impressed with the musicianship and artistry that was evident throughout this production... While impressive contributions came from basso Sergey Zadvorney (doubling as Monterone and Sparafucile), and Kindra Scharich as Maddalena, it was Rebecca Sjowall, whose solid technique delivered a memorable Gilda. Ms. Sjowall, who received her master's degree in Vocal Performance from UCLA in June of 2008, is definitely a talent to watch." - George Heymont, My Cultural Landscape

West Bay Opera's Carmen (October 2008)

"...an exceedingly lovely 'Je dis, que rien ne m'épouvante' (I said that nothing can frighten me). Standing alone at center stage, she lit up the proceedings with glowing, sweet tone and a radiant persona, which rightfully reaped some of the longest applause of the evening." - Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice

"Another new voice for West Bay is Rebecca Sjowall in the role of Micaela. Her gorgeous liquid soprano perfectly matches the melancholy innocence of her character." - Palo Alto Weekly

"West Bay Opera has come up with one of the best productions I have reviewed in many a year...high points: The luscious and soaring soprano voice of Rebecca Sjowall as the village maid Micaela." - Keith Kreitman, The Daily Journal (San Mateo)

Jenny Lind Concert Tour, Sweden (July 2007)

"Rebecca Sjöwall, å andra sidan, är mer åt det lyriska hållet men har nog så mycket bett, när det behövs, vilket märktes i Rosalindes Czardas ur Die Fledermaus. Vilket härligt utspel! Strauss' Zueignung (ovanligt raskt tempo, men varför inte...) och Die Nacht var mer än njutbara liksom nämnda Dickinson Songs. Som sagt, det är hög standard på stipendiaterna i år." - Eskilstuna-Kuriren