...her Berenice was regal, vivid and possessed of a whole range of tone-colour, suggesting not just an ideal Mozart Countess but also a possible Strauss soprano in the making. It's early days yet, though – she's still studying at the Royal College of Music – but Summerfield already seems to be the complete artist.
David Nice 29/4/2016
In the title role was mezzo-soprano Rachel Kelly, ... the commanding point to her sound was thrilling from bottom to top. Matching that command was soprano Gemma Summerfield as Berenice, Queen of Armenia and Vologeso's fiancée. Her arias demanded plenty of technique as a singer and actor, and she had a warmth that seemed to turn on a dime when Berenice needed to dig in her heels against the manipulative Emperor Lucio Vero. Her final mad-scene-like aria reminded us a bit of Elettra in Mozart's Idomeneo, and Dejaneira's final scene in Handel's Hercules. Summerfield's performance was one of those moments where a character seems to warrant a change in an opera's title; Il Vologeso could easily be called instead, La Berenice.
Jenna Douglas 29/4/2016
Gemma Summerfield made a strong Berenice; Summerfield has a highly dramatic voice, which can move when needed. Berenice is steadfast, but also strong in her own right and the moment at the end of Act Two when she tells Lucio Vero that he will have to rip her heart out if she wants it, was priceless. But it is in the long scene in Act Three where Summerfield really came into her own [...] Summerfield really held her own and showed a fine combination of technical skill and dramatic nous.
Robert Hugill 29/4/2016
Rachel Kelly and Gemma Summerfield as the lovers Vologeso and Berenice were capable of enacting their parts with alternate force and tenderness [and] Summerfield’s agile handling of the tricky coloratura was a wonder to hear.
Curtis Rogers 29/4/2016
Ariodante, Handel, London Handel Festival...
Gemma Summerfield is a voice on the move towards the more dramatic [but] in the meanwhile we could enjoy her lively personality and vibrant characterisation as Ginevra. A pleasure in the joyful first half, she brought great intensity to Ginevra's scenes later in the opera. Thanks to some strongly dramatic singing and fine personen-regie we really felt disturbed by Ginevra's scene at the end of Act Two. This was a finely balanced cast and whilst you suspected that Summerfield will go one to have careers in more romantic repertoire, [she] showed a nice sense of style.
Robert Hugill 9/3/2016
Ferrier Award Recital, St John's Smith Square....
Quite apart from the technical challenges surmounted and the diversity of musical idioms mastered, Summerfield also proved herself to be an excellent linguist, moving confidently from German to French, from English to Finnish, and back to German. Summerfield swooped and leapt effortlessly, and with pinpoint accuracy [with] the opportunity to display the glossiness of her gleaming soprano, which slipped smoothly through unusual harmonies. After the interval, Summerfield return to the platform alone, for a performance of Jonathan Dove’s Ariel, in which she showed her theatrical instinct, deftly capturing the mercurial character of the eponymous sprite [...] her Ariel was both ethereal and sensuous, defiant and pliant. It was good to have the opportunity to hear again a young artist of such promise and potential.
Claire Seymour 13/1/2016
Die Fledermaus, Strauss II, Royal College of Music...
...easily the most dominating figure was Rosalinde, sung on the first night by Gemma Summerfield, both in voice and in stage presence. Her voice carried easily and she handled her high notes with panache. As an actress, her outrage was a delight to behold and she delivered some of the best comic moments of the evening, as well as offering a genuinely moving “Klänge der Heimat”.
Dominic Lowe 23/11/2015
Soprano Gemma Summerfield as ... Rosalinde is already a fast-rising star. She achieved the rare feat of winning both the first prize and the Loveday song prize in the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier awards. Projecting fluently, enunciating every word clearly, she has a beauty and confidence of tone across the range.