Born and raised in Wisconsin, Rebecca Sjöwall has been lauded for her dramatic power as an actress (“electrifying,” “striking,” “a joy to watch”) with a voice described as “luscious,” “beautifully crisp,” and “a powerhouse.” Of her recent role debut with Nashville Opera as Mrs. P in Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, ArtsNash declared, “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.”
Rebecca took her first voice lesson while getting her bachelor’s degree in political science at Luther College. She was planning a future studying law but wanted to see the world first. So, she headed to Japan to work as an English teacher. While living in a tiny mountain town north of Kyoto City, a fellow teacher asked if she would give a concert to raise money for The Friendship Foundation. It was a life-changing experience through which she got a glimpse of the connective power of music. After returning to the U.S., she began studying music while working full-time. Five years later, after stints at Harvard Business School and then Rolex, she began her vocal performance studies at UCLA, where she later earned her master’s in music.
Over five million gamers have heard Rebecca’s voice as the singer of the “Rapture Anthem” on the popular video games BioShock and BioShock 2. The pop/rock band Sparks invited her to portray the sassy Hollywood Starlet for their album The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman, a role that she reprised for a sold-out live performance presented by the L.A. Film Fest at the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. As a two-time Society of Singers scholarship recipient, she was honored to open for Smokey Robinson at their 16th Annual ELLA Awards.
In 2014, Rebecca made her role and company debut with Pacific Opera Project as the Governess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, about which Stage and Cinema wrote, “Her dramatic expression and stunning voice exhibit great beauty and power.” She reunited with POP in 2015, as Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff. With Nashville Opera, she made her role and company debut as the Williamson girl in David Lang’s The Difficulty of Crossing a Field. She is thrilled to be returning to Nashville Opera for a third time, in the fall of 2016, this time as Older Alyce in Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied. Also scheduled for 2016 is the release of a studio recording of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, recorded at Ocean Way Nashville.
Rebecca made her Carnegie Hall debut in a world premiere by Stephen Edwards and collaborates often with many composers. She has appeared in recital and as a guest soloist throughout the U.S. in repertoire including Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Dvorak’s Te deum, Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. A two-time District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions as well as Winner of the American Jenny Lind Competition, she spent two seasons honing her craft as a studio artist with Arizona Opera. She currently lives in Los Angeles.