Rowan Hellier

Mezzo-soprano

"Rowan Hellier’s fine mezzo embodies the dignity of this suffering in a tightly focused performance."

Rian Evans, The Guardian

"And at the centre of everything, the Lucretia of the young Scottish mezzo Rowan Hellier is totally gripping, neurotically yet credibly acted, superbly sung in a rich, expressive contralto-like timbre"

Richard Morrison, The Times

"Rowan Hellier gave a stand-out performance as the Drummer."

Rebecca Schmid, Opera Today

"There was a real intensity here, from the almost aggressive purity of Rowan Hellier's Lucretia"

Robert Thicknesse, Opera Now

"In the title role, Rowan Hellier switched from long-suffering devotion, to impassioned rejection of Tarquinius's demands, to all-consuming guilt, her maturing Mezzo richly expressive"

Margaret Davies, Opera Magazine

"sung with a real sense of celebration by Rowan Hellier"

The Independent

"Rowan Hellier as Cherubino gave a fine performance and genuinely seemed to be enjoying all the frivolity of her role – even the masquerade"

Primi Divi

"Sung with fierce sweetness by Hellier"

Anna Picard, The Independent

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Scottish mezzo-soprano Rowan Hellier has already attracted considerable attention as one of the most exciting young talents to be seen on the European operatic stage and concert platform. Praised for her ‘wonderfully mature, powerful and warm’ voice and her ‘focus, drama and clarity’ in performance, Rowan was a Young Artist at the International Opera Studio at the Berlin Staatsoper, and studied at both the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Recent operatic engagements include Wellgunde Das Rheingold with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, and Frau Grubach/Washerwoman in the world premiere of The Trial by Philip Glass at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.  During her time at the Berlin Staatsoper she sang the roles of Zweite Dame Die Zauberflöte, Annina La Traviata, Kate Pinkerton Madama Butterfly, Der Trommler Der Kaiser von Atlantis, Hirt Tosca, and the title role in Vanitas at both the Berlin and Hamburg Staatsopers.

Rowan is currently a member of the ensemble at the Salzburger Landestheater where her roles in the last season have included Lisetta Il mondo della luna, Mercedes Carmen, Zaide Il turco in Italia, Donna Elvira Don Giovanni, and Lureen Brokeback Mountain.  In the 16/17 season she sings the roles of Idamante Idomeneo, the title role in Orfeo, and Sandmännchen Hänsel und Gretel, and Hänsel at the Felsenreitschule.

Other recent and future engagements include Dido Dido and Aeneas conducted Trevor Pinnock, Mozart Requiem with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and with the Dunedin Consort in Bremen and in Oviedo, and a recital for Salisbury International Music Festival.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

Dido and Aeneas (Dido)

Wigmore Hall, London (October 2015)

Our doomed heroine was Rowan Hellier, her glossy mezzo-soprano fiercely emotional from the start.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Rowan Hellier was a beautifully poised and dignified Dido. She sang with a lovely even, strong mezzo-soprano voice which gave the music a sculpted quality, yet was touching too. We were able to appreciate both the beauty of Purcell's music and the emotions behind it.

Robert Hugill, planethugill.com

Salzburg Landestheater, Haydn Il mondo della luna (Lisetta)

Salzburger Landestheater (September 2015)

Of the women, Rowan Hellier stood out as Lisetta, with her dark, velvety tones.

Tiroler Tageszeitung

Especially convincing [was]…Rowan Hellier as the highly-beehived home help Lisetta.

Peter Jungblut, BR Klassik

The mezzo soprano Rowan Hellier brought lots of charm to the role of housekeeper Lisetta.

Reinhard Kriechbaum, DrehPunktKultur

Classical Opera, J.C. Bach Adriano in Siria (Adriano)

Britten Theatre, London (April 2015)

In this production, there’s some accomplished singing from Rowan Hellier as a forthright Adriano.

George Hall, The Guardian

There’s no weak link in this young cast: mezzo Rowan Hellier deals ably with the other castrato role.

Michael Church, The Independent

The singing is nimble and stylish...In the castrati roles of Adriano and the prince Farnaspe, Rowan Hellier and Erica Eloff deliver glitter and limpidity.

Anna Picard, The Times

As Adriano, mezzo-soprano Rowan Hellier was appropriately restless and headstrong….the lovely richness of her tone gave stature to the Emperor despite his fickle caprices, while in higher registers her voice shone beautifully.

Claire Seymour, Opera Today

Rowan Hellier essayed the relatively minor mezzo role of Adriano well.

Brian Robin, Opera

LPO / Jurowski, Das Rheingold (extracts)

Royal Festival Hall, London (January 2015)

...Rowan Hellier [in] the very classy trio of Rheinmaidens.

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

Dunedin Consort, Handel Messiah

St John’s Kirk, Perth (December 2014)

Mezzo Rowan Hellier had gentle, subtle grace.

Kate Molleson, The Guardian

Alto Rowan Hellier shone in (her) gentler, reflective contributions.

Ken Walton, The Scotsman

Junges Ensemble Berlin Chor, Honegger König David

Rondeau Production ROP6088 (November 2014

Rowan Hellier…often managing Honegger’s less than lyrical vocal lines with an ease eclipsing [her] recorded predecessors.

Patrick Stearns, Gramophone

Music Theatre Wales, The Trial

Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (October 2014)

There are standout cameos from Rowan Hellier, Paul Curievici, and Gwion Thomas. I only wish they had had more to get their teeth into.

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

…the cast project just the right blend of gallows humour, with Rowan Hellier…bringing real beauty to [her] arias.

Michael Church, The Independent

Rowan Hellier’s bright clear mezzo, as wife of the court usher and washerwoman, conveyed wonderfully both the sensuality and sobriety of the roles.

Peter Reynolds, bachtrack

…the vocally rounded mezzo Rowan Hellier deal[t] well with Kafka's casual misogyny in the female role.

Mark Valencia, whatsonstage.com

Iford Opera, Monteverdi Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria

Iford Manor (July 2014)

Rowan Hellier’s fine mezzo embodies the dignity of this suffering in a tightly focused performance.

Rian Evans, The Guardian

The rich-toned Rowan Hellier drew as much lyrical line as she dared from Penelope’s long recitatives, bringing out the character’s essential integrity and tenacity rather than languishing in self-pity.

Rian Evans, Opera

Mezzo Rowan Hellier makes a noble, troubled Penelope, her rich lyric tone a huge asset.

George Hall, The Stage

Here experience tended to tell: standouts had to be Rowan Hellier as a noble, plangent Penelope with rich mezzo tones throughout.

Sue Loder, Opera Today

Dunedin Consort, Mozart Requiem

Linn Records CKD 449

Ms. Hellier’s fruity timbre melds well… and she sings with superb control and composure.

Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts

Dunedin Consort - Mozart Requiem

Lammermuir Festival - St Mary's, Haddington (September 2013)

From this inferno rang out Rowan Hellier’s wonderfully mature, powerful and warm solo mezzo-soprano voice.

Alan Coady, bachtrack.com

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Alasdair Nicolson Premiere

St. Magnus Festival (June 2013)

Complementing these lively musical narratives was a world premier by festival director Alasdair Nicolson, Shadows On The Wall (Five Hauntings For Voice And Orchestra). Mezzo soprano Rowan Hellier was compelling, with her rich, matt velvet tone, as she performed these haunted and expressive melodies with focus, drama and clarity.

Rosenna East, The Herald

Der Kaiser von Atlantis (The Drummer)

Staatsoper Berlin (February 2013)

Rowan Hellier gave a stand-out performance as the Drummer.

Rebecca Schmid, Opera Today

The Drummer, the almost dramatically haunting contralto Rowan Hellier, was played like a fragile action figures.

Irene Constantin, Neues Deutschland

[Rowan Hellier as] the singing Drummer was vocally excellent

Udo Badelt, Der Tagesspiegel

There was excellent support from mezzo-soprano Rowan Hellier as the Drummer.

Ingrid Wanja, Der Opernfreund

Carmen (Carmen Highlights), The Gannochy Trust’s 75th Birthday Concert

Perth Concert Hall (June 2012)

Rowan Hellier, dressed in a bright scarlet satin dress carrying a red carnation, sang the Habanera and Seguedilla simply beautifully.

David Smythe, BachTrack

Extracts from Bizet's Carmen, featuring superb Perth-born mezzo Rowan Hellier in the title role.

Michael Tumelty, The Herald Scotland

Cecilio (Mozart’s Lucio Silla), Classical Opera Company,

Cadogan Hall, London (March 2012)

Rowan Hellier as Cecilio is a strongly focused, bright-hued mezzo.

Hilary Finch, The Times

Rowan Hellier, as Cecilio, delivered the other really excellent performance of the evening and was the singer that impressed me the most. She possesses a wide mezzo range, with a dark edge in the lower register and clear, easy high notes in the top of her voice, which she is capable of sustaining above the orchestra with remarkable ease. Her tone is warm and varied and she also displayed an elegant, delicate legato line, particularly during her final aria.

Margarida Mota-Bull, Seen and Heard International

[Rowan Hellier’s] mezzo…was agile, characterful and almost casually virtuosic.

Peter Reed, Classical Source

Rowan Hellier as the hero Cecilio...won over the audience completely with her extraordinarily warm voice, which has an astonishingly beautiful and introspective quality to it.

Tullia Giersberg, British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Lucretia (The Rape of Lucretia), British Youth Opera

(September 2011)

And at the centre of everything, the Lucretia of the young Scottish mezzo Rowan Hellier is totally gripping, neurotically yet credibly acted, superbly sung in a rich, expressive contralto-like timbre.

Richard Morrison, The Times

There was a real intensity here, from the almost aggressive purity of Rowan Hellier's Lucretia

Robert Thicknesse, Opera Now

In the title role, Rowan Hellier switched from long-suffering devotion, to impassioned rejection of Tarquinius's demands, to all-consuming guilt, her maturing Mezzo richly expressive.

Margaret Davies, Opera Magazine

Sung with fierce sweetness by Hellier

Anna Picard, The Independent

Rowan Hellier manages the even harder feat of representing the violated Lucretia in terminal meltdown.

George Hall, The Guardian

Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro)

WNO

...a fine Cherubino from Rowan Hellier

Crackerjack

Rowan Hellier as Cherubino gave a fine performance and genuinely seemed to be enjoying all the frivolity of her role – even the masquerade

Primi Divi

Oxford Lieder Festival

(October 2009)

Hellier’s sublime performance of Brahms’s famous lullaby was a highlight...Hellier demonstrated both vocal and dramatic prowess to give compelling accounts of these songs

The Oxford Times

woman.life.song (by Judith Weir)

Barbican

sung with a real sense of celebration by Rowan Hellier

The Independent

Rowan Hellier’s Opera Repertoire

Bizet

Carmen (title and Mercedes)

Britten

The Rape of Lucretia (Lucretia)

Cui

Der Gestiefelte Kater (Kater)

Dvořák

Rusalka (Kitchen Boy)

Gounod

La Colombe (Mazet)

Glass

The Trial (Frau Grubach/Washerwoman)

Handel

Giulio Cesare (Sesto)

Humperdinck

Hänsel und Gretel (Hänsel)

Mascagni

Cavalleria Rusticana (Lola)

Monteverdi

Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Penelope)

Mozart

Così fan tutte (Dorabella)
Die Zauberflöte (Second Lady)
Le nozze di Figaro (Cherubino)

Puccini

Madama Butterfly (Kate Pinkerton)
Tosca (Shepherd)

Purcell

Dido and Aeneas (Dido)

Sciarrino

Vanitas (Voice)

Ullmann

Der Kaiser von Atlantis (The Drummer)

Verdi

La Traviata (Annina)

Wagner

Das Rheingold (Wellgunde)

Weir

The Vanishing Bridegroom (The Daughter)

Rowan Hellier’s Concert Repertoire

Bach

Christmas Oratorio
St. Matthew Passion

Beethoven

Missa Solemnis

Brahms

Liebesliederwaltzer

Chausson

Chanson perpétuelle

Handel

Belshazzar
Messiah
Theodora

Honegger

Le roi David

Janacek

The Diary of One Who Disappeared

Mahler

Rückert Lieder
Des Knaben Wunderhorn

Mozart

Requiem

Rossini

Stabat Mater

Verdi

Requiem

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