Gwendolyn Bowers, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Gwendolyn Bowers (formerly Lentz) recently sang the roles of Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera by Giuseppe Verdi and Addie in Regina by Marc Blitzstein with the Des Moines Metro Opera Company, receiving the following reviews in Opera News: "Gwendolyn Bowers delivered a fine Ulrica who easily plumbed the sorceress's contralto depths, and her imaginative, fluid characterization was mysteriously imperious." "Bowers morphed her menacing Ulrica into a nurturing (and limelight-stealing) earth-mother as Addie." These two operas from different genres showcased her artistic versatility.
After completing her undergraduate degree in vocal performance at the Eastman School of Music, Gwendolyn was awarded a two-year apprenticeship with the Houston Grand Opera and the University of Houston. She continued to win the Metropolitan Opera Regional award, and study grants that took her to Italy for two summers. Madame Giulietta Simionato worked with Gwendolyn in preparation for her concerts in Italy, and responded with "Bravas" at the conclusion of her performance. There were additional solo appearances in various parts of Italy, including the Pergolesi Stabat Mater. She made her European debut as Carmen, with performances in France, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, including a Paris debut at Le Salle Playel.
Gwendolyn made her New York debut with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the Lincoln Center under the direction of Maestro Kurt Masur. As a result of performing El Amor Brujo by De Falla with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Bowers was recruited by the Dallas Opera to sing the role of Abuela in La Vida Breve, also by De Falla. Gwendolyn has had the pleasure of collaborating with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Philharmonic, the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, the Harrisburg Choral Society, and the York Symphony Orchestra. Works performed include the Mahler Third Symphony and Songs of a Wayfarer, Brahms Alto Rhapsody, Beethoven Ninth Symphony, Dvorak Mass in A-flat, Habanera and Seguidilla from Bizet's Carmen, Handel's Messiah and other "Pops" selections including An Evening Of Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Gwendolyn was personally selected by conductor Isaiah Jackson as the mezzo-soprano soloist for Scenes in the Life of a Martyr by Undine Smith-Moore. The work was commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra to commemorate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to working with opera companies and orchestras, Ms. Bowers participated in fund-raising activities for charities and various educational outreach endeavors. One treasured experience was singing for Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. An act of kindness to a local charity took Gwendolyn to Japan for 17 days of concerts, while helping a stranded traveler developed into an opportunity to perform a series of recitals and a master class in Perth, Australia. Ms. Bowers looks forward to continuing opportunities to travel and perform, and anticipates marvelous experiences in favorite Verdi roles and beyond.