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Reviews

Duchess of Plaza-Toro – Gondoliers : Gilbert and Sullivan
Der Neue Merkur (Vienna): February 2007
Experienced singers were engaged for the Duke und Duchess of Plaza-Toro who not only portrayed delicious aristocratic types but sang with real quality voices; a full supple mezzo and just such a baritone. Their diction, facial expression and gesture were all perfect. Her "Your admirable Sire" had an attitude superbly parodied in a subtle English manner.

Marcellina – Le Nozze di Figaro : Mozart
The Birmingham News: March 2000
The wacky duo of Marcellina and Dr. Bartolo, beautifully sung and expertly enacted by Martha Jane Howe and G. William Bugg, was one for the books as well.

Mary -- Der fliegende Holländer : Wagner
The Sacramento Bee: Nov. 98
There’s first rate singing also by Martha Jane Howe as Mary (a rich, warm contralto).

MGW Newspaper Sacramento: Nov. 98
A very pleasant surprise was the Mary of Martha Jane Howe. In the few lines allotted to her, her rich mezzo soprano boomed out excitingly. If only she had more to sing.

Gertrude -- Roméo et Juliette : Gounod
Los Angeles Times: April 98

Martha Jane Howe as a three-dimensional and roundly sung Gertrude

Daniel Cariaga: Opera News: August 98
The pair enjoyed worthy, strong-voiced colleagues in … and Martha Jane Howe

Das klagende Lied : Mahler : (Berkeley Symphony / Kent Nagano)
Berkeley Voice: May 98

Among the vocal soloists, mezzo-soprano Martha Jane Howe stood out with a velvety depth of tone that seemed more that of a contralto.

Contra Costa Times: May 98
Nagano assembled a fine team of singers, with mezzo soprano Martha Jane Howe bringing an especially beautiful and dramatic quality to her part.

Pénélope -- Pénélope : Fauré
Hills Publications: May 96
Martha Jane Howe as Pénélope is deeply impressive: a rich and powerful voice, expressively right on. She knows how to use the voice as instrument – inflection of tone, the merest modulation of facial muscle carry drama.

Ludmilla – Die Verkaufte Braut : Smetana
Martin Bernheimer re: Lyric Opera of Chicago:
Los Angeles Times: Nov. 92

Martha Jane Howe’s Ludmilla was splendid, vocally and theatrically.

Dame Quickly -- Falstaff : Verdi
Deseret News Salt Lake City: May 91
Alto Martha Jane Howe is an accomplished singing actress, with many turns of gesture and nuance that accentuate the busybody liaison duties of Dame Quickly… for a quartet of ladies who create a comic buzz every time they put their heads together.

Indianapolis News March 86
The charm in this case is greatly to the credit of the ladies… and Miss Howe as a delightfully amusing Dame Quickly.

Syracuse Herald Journal: April 86
The Dame Quickly of Martha Jane Howe was an equally strong characterization. The audience, enjoyed her faintly disreputable chores more than she should have. And Howe, too, upheld the high vocal quality of this cast with real distinction.

Bianca – The Rape of Lucretia : Britten:
The San Diego Union-Tribune: March 92

Lucretia was overshadowed vocally by mezzo-soprano Martha Jane Howe as Bianca.

Martin Bernheimer: Los Angeles Times: March 92
[supertitles] The redundancy insulted the singers, who articulated Duncan’s lines with model clarity ... The rest of the ensemble was strong ... Martha Jane Howe, a holdover from Long Beach, exuded nursely sympathy as Bianca. (San Diego Opera)

Martin Bernheimer: Los Angeles Times: April 90
The cast represents a perfectly balanced ensemble of singing actors who are not afraid of taking risks. The exquisite spinning scene was complemented by the dark contralto of Martha Jane Howe as Bianca. (Long Beach)

Geneviève – Pelléas et Mélisande : Debussy
Los Angeles Times: April 91

Martha Jane Howe added her own vocal luster to a sympathetic Geneviève.

Flower Mädchen -- Parsifal : Wagner (Chicago Symphony)
The Chicago Tribune: March 90
Complementing the musical picture were the splendid Flowermaidens… Miss Howe.

Innkeeper – Boris Godunov : Mussorgsky
Martin Bernheimer: Los Angeles Times: Oct. 89
Among others, Gugusvilli (Simpleton), Glassman (Dimitri) and Howe (Hostess) distinguished themselves.

Daniel Cariaga: Opera News: Dec. 89

Martha Jane Howe contributed a lusty Innkeeper.

Teresa – La Sonnambula : Bellini
Chicago Sun Times: Oct. 88

Martha Jane Howe caught the ear and the eye.

Distinguished Matron – The Nose : Shostakovich
Santa Fe Reporter: August 87
Others who stood out in this excellent cast were ... mezzo Martha Jane Howe.

Christmas Oratorio :Saint-Saëns: (Youngstown Symphony)
The Vindicator: Dec. 87

Unlike many deep-voiced female singers, Martha Jane Howe, at last a true contralto, always was audible and made one eager to hear her in more extensive parts.

King David : Honegger (Carnegie Hall)
The New York Times: May 85

Martha Jane Howe’s contralto voice and her speaking portrayal of the Witch of Endor were the moments of interest here. Bernard Holland.

Filipievna – Eugene Onegin : Tchaikovsky
Martin Bernheimer: Los Angeles Times: February 85

Martha Jane Howe’s solidly vocalized Filipievna dominated a supporting cast, including Prince Gremin, Olga, Mme. Larina and Monsieur Triquet.

Maddalena – Rigoletto : Verdi
La Presse (Montréal): June 84

Martha Jane Howe appeared as Maddalena, sister of Sparafucile. Her contralto was rich and expressive. The Baltimore Evening Sun:: March 85
The role of Maddalena found in the young American Martha Jane Howe an interpreter of equal excellence; physically, dramatically and vocally.

Nutrice – Coronation of Poppea : Monteverdi
Martin Bernheimer: Los Angeles Times: Nov. 84

Ottavia’s nurse -- Martha Jane Howe – is a gum chewing bitchy and butchy broad who likes to stroke her mistress’ knees. Howe makes marvelously lusty contralto sounds as the macho nurse.

Rhapsodie Op. 53 : Brahms (Cheyenne Symphony)
Wyoming State Tribune: Jan. 84

Miss Howe, projecting great warmth, commanded the stage and filled the Civic Center with her splendid voice. Her elegant contralto impressed with its power and confidence in the Rhapsody and soared effortlessly above the orchestra and the accompanying male chorus. Her breath control was excellent, extending over lengthy and challenging phrases with total command from the first note to the last. She bridged difficult intervals easily and precisely, singing with an earnest fire that was both touching and beautiful.

Tisbe – La Cenerentola : Rossini
Washington Post: Dec. 84
The comic element was splendidly upheld by Miss Howe.

Baltimore Sun: Dec. 84

Martha Jane Howe as Tisbe made the most of her role, even though her elder sister got the aria. The

The Daily Record: Dec. 84

Martha Jane Howe also put in a fine characterization of the ugly stepsister Tisbe. Both women managed to make you feel a little sorry for them as they made you laugh.

Czipra – Der Zigeunerbaron : J. Strauss
Kitchener-Waterloo Record: Oct. 83

Soprano Sally Wolf and contralto Howe proved inspired choices. Both displayed the dramatic freedom and expressive vitality that can make a single performer fill, or influence, vast spaces on a stage – a difficult feat accomplished brilliantly.

Glagolytic Mass : Janacek: (Milwaukee Symphony)
Milwaukee Journal: Dec. 81

Notably, Martha Jane Howe captured a touching, swanlike grace.

Marcellina – Le Nozze di Figaro : Mozart
Carmel Times: July 80
Miss Howe’s Marcellina sounded opulent. Los Angeles Times: July 80
Miss Howe is gifted with an unusually dark though clear voice. Her Marcellina was excellently sung.

Popova – The Bear : Walton
The Reader: June 77
Her voice is rich, elegant, and wonderfully pointed. She lavished crisp enunciation.

San Diego Evening Tribune: June 77
Smooth, rich voice, and a flowing vocal line that makes lovely lyrical moments even out of the most declamatory fragments. Miss Howe is capable of a large range of expression: she is in turn wistful, angry and passionate. A fine performance, enhanced by this artist’s equally fine skills as an actress.

The San Diego Union: June 77

Miss Howe is graceful as singer and actress. Her musical phrasing and dramatic gesture were always deft and well timed.


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