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Judith Howarth (Soprano)

Born: September 11, 1962 - Ipswich, Suffolk, England

The English coloratura-lyric soprano, Judth Howarth, studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and at the Opera School; Further studies with Patricia Macmahon. Her student roles included Donna Anna, Countess Almaviva, Pamina, Fiordiligi and Mimi.

Judth Howarth made her debut in 1984, singing W.A. Mozart's arias with the English Chamber Orchestra. One of the most sought-after sopranos in Europe, she has consolidated a strong public following and critical appraisal for her work. She first came to public attention when she joined the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as a Principal. She made her debut there in 1985 as First Maid in Zemlinsky's Der Zwreg. During nine seasons there she sang many roles including Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, Musetta in La Bohème, Liu in Turandot, Gilda in Rigoletto, Morgana in George Frideric Handel's Alcina, Norina in Don Pasquale, Cressida in Troilus and Cressida and Marguerite in Les Huguenots.

Subsequent engagements world-wide include Musetta in Cincinnati, Ellen Orford in Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes in Toulouse, Santiago de Chile and Oviedo, Christine Intermezzo and Aithra in Die ägyptische Helena in Santa Fe, Nedda in I Pagliacci and all four soprano roles in Les Contes d’Hoffmann for Florida Grand Opera, Olga in Fedora for the Washington National Opera, Violetta in La Traviata for the Minnesota Opera, English National Opera, Glyndebourne and at the Glyndebourne Festival and Liu at the Staatsoper, Berlin, Dalila in Samson (G.F. Handel) for the Netherlands Opera, Musetta in La bohème in Cincinatti, Marie in La fille du régiment in Geneva and Madame Mao in Nixon in China for ENO. Recent engagements have included title role in Madama Butterfly in Helsinki, title role in Maria Stuarda in Minnesota, Philip Glass' 1000 Airplanes on the Roof with Rednote Ensemble, Edward Elgar's Caractacus at the Three Choirs Festival with Sir Andrew Davis, Glagolitic Mass and Dvorak's Te Deum with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Verdi's Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall. She has sung Gilda in Rigoletto at the London English National Opera, London, Elvira in I puritani for the Chelsea Opera Group and Elisabetta inm Don Carlos in Helsinki. In Minneapolis she sang the title-role in Colin Graham’s production of Madama Butterfly. In 2013 she sang the title-role in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda for Welsh National Opera.

Judth Howarth's concert career has brought appearances throughout the world and collaborations with distinguished colleagues and conductors. She has toured with Plácido Domingo to Seattle, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Brussels and Amsterdam, going on to sing Strauss’ Four Last Songs in Vienna conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Her festival appearances include Aix-en-Provence, The Proms, Tanglewood, Edinburgh and Salzburg. She has worked with many distinguished conductors including Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Colin Davis, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink, Sir Charles Mackerras, Seiji Ozawa, Georges Prêtre, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Sir Georg Solti.

In 2004 Judith Howarth sang the title role Madama Butterfly in a new production, staged for her by Colin Graham, at the Minnesota Opera. More recently she has sung Gilda for ENO, Elvira in I Puritani with Chelsea Opera Group, Johannes BrahmsEin deutsches Requiem in Florence under Stefan Anton Reck, a repeat of her critically acclaimed performance of Madame Mao in Nixon in China for the Greek National Opera, Catherine in La jolie fille de Perth with Chelsea Opera Group, B. Britten's War Requiem and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 at the Three Choirs Festival, Parasha in Igor Stravinsky’s Mavra in Athens and Felix Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with the Bergen Philharmonic. Other appearances have included Ralph Vaughan WilliamsSea Symphony in Gloucester Cathedral, La Fee in Cendrillon for Chelsea Opera Group and Baroness Freimann in Der Wildschütz at the Buxton Festival. Recent engagements include a return to Finnish National Opera for Elisabetta in Don Carlo, further performances of Madama Butterfly for WNO, Mathilde in Guillaume Tell at the Rossini in Wildbad Belcanto Festival, title role in the new production of Maria Stuarda for Welsh National Opera, Desdemona in Otello (Act 3) in a Verdi Concert at Bridgewater Hall with the Hallé Orchestra (Mark Elder), Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes for ENO (Edward Gardner) and Shakespeare in Concert with Vlaamse Opera (Vladimir Jurowski) including excerpts from Verdi’s Otello, a series of bel canto concerts based on the works of Sir Walter Scott for Scottish Opera, E. Elgar's Spirit of England in Chester Cathedral and 1st Soprano (Magna Peccatrix) in G. Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall (Esa-Pekka Salonen).

Judth Howarth continues to be one of the most successful British sopranos currently around, whose formidable singing technique and vocal range has allowed her to sing countless bel canto roles with enormous success, in addition to forays into the more dramatic Verdi and Puccini repertoire. She has appeared in major roles at many of the world’s leading opera houses and concert halls throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East and has performed with most of the major international conductors of the last 20 years.

Recent and future engagements include Mrs Julian in Owen Wingrave for Opéra National de Lorraine, Nancy, Four Last Songs in Aberdeen, master-classes in China, Glagolitic Mass with Bergen Phiilharmonic (Edward Gardner), a new commission, Arctic Elegy with the University of Aberdeen, Ellen Orford in the Icelandic premiere of Peter Grimes at the Reykjavik Arts Festival with Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes for the Deutsche Oper, Berlin (Runnicles), Katerina in Martinu’s The Greek Passion for Oper Graz and her Wiener Staatsoper debut as Ellen Orford (Graeme Jenkins).

Judith Howarth has appeared on television all over the world and has a discography of more than 30 recordings including Troilus and Cressida, conducted by Richard Hickox, which won Gramophone Magazine’s Opera of the Year. Her latest recordings are Il Segreto di Susanna with the Oviedo Filarmonia under Friedrich Haider and the title role in Mercadante’s Maria Stuarda, Regina di Scozia for Opera Rara.

Source: Hazard Chase Website; Naxos Website; Photo 01-05: Gordon Wilson; International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93); Bits & pieces from othersources
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (March 2017)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




John Fisher


G.F. Handel: Opera Alcina, HWV 34 [1993, Morgana]

Links to other Sites

Howarth, Judith (Opera Rara)
Judith Howarth - Bio (Naxos)

Judith Howarth (Hazard Chace)

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