Martile Rowland was catapulted into the international opera scene with her unexpected debut (6 hours notice!) as Queen Elizabeth in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux with Opera Orchestra of New York in Carnegie Hall.
In the reviews that followed, Martile was praised for her agility, legato line, and high pianissimo by the New York Times and was compared to Monserrat Caballe, Joan Sutherland, and Maria Callas by Peter G. Davis of New York Magazine.
Four months later, Martile made an equally harrowing Metropolitan Opera debut to assume the treacherous role of Elvira in Act II of Bellini’s I Puritani. Martin Bookspan wrote in his review: “A Hollywood script writer could not have conjured up a more dramatic situation. Elvira makes her first appearance in the Second Act as an off-stage voice: we heard that sound and we were brought bolt upright in our seats. Here was a gorgeous soprano voice, in full bel canto tradition. The Second Act contains the Mad Scene, a test of a soprano’s caliber as severe as any in the repertory. Miss Rowland came through with flying colors, and the ovations that followed actually stopped the show. She could be the successor to Dame Joan Sutherland.”
During the years that followed, Martile sang leading roles in the world’s most prestigious opera houses to rave reviews including returns to the Metropolitan Opera (to sing Lucia di Lammermoor with Spanish tenor Alfredo Krauss), New York City Opera, Opera de Nice, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City for four seasons, Rio de Janeiro’s National Theatre, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Paris’ Bastille, Frankfurt Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Guadalajara, the famous Ludwigsburger Festival for 4 seasons, Basil Opera in Switzerland, and numerous seasons in leading European houses.
She starred on American stages to include 7 seasons at Atlanta Opera, San Diego Opera, Baltimore Opera, Minnesota Opera, Detroit Opera, Miami Opera, Dayton Opera, Washington Concert Opera, and seven seasons with her home company, the Colorado Opera Festival. She also returned to Carnegie Hall as leading heroines in numerous other productions.
For the New York premier of Donizetti’s Poliuto in which Martile sang Paolina, she was honored by the presence of Dame Joan Sutherland, Maestro Richard Bonynge, Renata Scotto, Licia Albanese, and Anna Moffo in the audience and Martile was greeted personally backstage by her heroine, Dame Sutherland, and Maestro Bonynge.
Martile founded Opera Theatre of the Rockies in 1998 and has served as Artistic Director for 20 seasons, producing and/or directing more than 40 productions. With strong support from the Opera Theatre Board of Directors and the Pikes Peak Opera League, Ms. Rowland created the award-winning Opera Theatre Goes to School as an outreach/education arm of Opera Theatre that has brought opera performances to thousands of Colorado students and their teachers.
With the encouragement and support of Colorado College, Vocal Arts Festival, an intensive training and performance program was created by Martile and has served as a training ground for singers across the United States, Asia, and Europe for 17 years, with graduates performing world-wide. Ms. Rowland’s passion as a voice teacher for hundreds of young professional opera singers has earned her Classical Singer Magazine’s 2006 Teacher of the Year Award.
In 2014, Martile was honored by The Pikes Peak Arts Council as the recipient of The Eve Tilley Lifetime Achievement Award and was given Lifetime Achievement honors by the Pikes Peak Opera League in 2018. Martile has served as Artist In Residence for the Colorado College Music Department for more than 20 years. In recognition of her tremendous contributions to the music community, Ms. Rowland will receive an honorary degree on May 19, 2019, from Colorado College alongside commencement guest speaker, Oprah Winfrey.