Raised in the rich singing tradition of South Wales, Jason Howard is now recognised as one of the UK's leading performers on the international operatic stage. Upon leaving his first career as a fireman, he studied at Trinity College of Music and the Royal College of Music in London, commencing his career at Scottish Opera and subsequently singing throughout Europe and North America, as well as with all the major UK opera companies and orchestras.
Described as ‘the Wotan of his generation’, Howard is quickly establishing himself as a leading exponent of the German heroic repertoire, with past performances including the title role of Der Fliegende Holländer, Orest Elektra, Jochanaan Salome (in Lisbon and the USA) and Wotan in David McVicars's acclaimed production of Der Ring des Nibelungen for l’Opéra national du Rhin.
Other highlights include Marcello La Bohème (Royal Opera House and Paris Opera); the South American première of Death in Venice (Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires); Prospero in Thomas Adès' The Tempest (Opéra national du Rhin); Giorgio Germont La Traviata, Tonio Pagliacci and Alfio Cavalleria Rusticana (all Welsh National Opera); Scarpia Tosca (Oper Frankfurt); Iago Otello (Opera Carolina); Adam Brant Mourning Becomes Electra (Chicago Lyric Opera, Seattle Opera and New York City Opera); Emile de Becque South Pacific (Lincoln Center Theater production); Ravenal Showboat (RSC/Opera North production); and the baritone roles in Attila, Don Carlos, Rigoletto, Macbeth, Nabucco and Il Trovatore.
Future engagements include major roles in Wagner operas at the Longborough Festival and the Gran Teatre de Liceu, Barcelona.
Howard’s recordings include A Little Night Music, Showboat, Calamity Jane and The King & I for TER, Mephisto in Boulanger's Faust et Hélène, and Dr Malatesta Don Pasquale for Chandos. He has also released a solo CD of songs from the classic Hollywood musicals entitled ‘Make Believe, The Hollywood Baritones’.
Jason Howard is represented by Intermusica.
August 2012 / 301 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Rigoletto in Verdi Rigoletto / Dofasco Centre for the Arts
Opera Hamilton / cond. David Speers / dir. Michael Cavanagh
“Jason Howard received a standing ovation for his portrayal as a pitiable Rigoletto”.
Leonard Turnevicius, TheSpec.com, October 2012
Verdi Nabucco / The Minnesota Opera
cond. Michael Christie / dir. Thaddeus Strassberger
“Howard's heavy baritone is well-matched to the darkness of the role....... by the late scenes, he really took charge.”
Jay Furst, Postbulletin.com, September 2012
King Henry VIII in Saint-Saëns Henry VIII
Bard Festival / cond. Leon Botstein
“The second Tudor king stands stalwartly at the center of the action, played here by baritone Jason Howard. The role is written with both sonorous low notes and some difficult fortissimos that lie in the upper part of the tessitura. It is undoubtedly difficult portraying such an unsympathetic protagonist, yet Howard managed to convey a certain charm, even in his scenes with the ill-fated Anne Boleyn… Howard was at his best in the scene before the Papal Synod, where the King petitions for divorce, fails and quickly forms the Church of England. This grand courtroom scene had power and sweep, with an emotional appeal from Catherine of Aragon and proud defiance from Henry.”
Paul J. Pelkonen, Theclassicalreview.com, August 2012
Emile De Becque in South Pacific / Milton Keynes Theatre
music dir. Ted Sperling / dir. Bartlett Sher
“Likewise, Jason Howard is truly commanding as Emile de Becque and his Operatic background elevates these iconic songs to another level.”
Glenn Meads, Whatsonstage.com, October 2011
Scarpia Tosca / Frankfurt
“With Jason Howard as Scarpia, Antonenkos Cavaradossi had found a vocally worthy opponent. In the first act, Howard allowed his character's potential for violence to seeth under a surface of sinister noblesse and false modesty. Puccini characterised this unscrupulous police chief by constantly changing the nuances of expression in the score. Impossible to perform, one might think, but Howard mastered the subtleties splendidly with his lush baritone voice and a wide range of tonal colour. His 'declaration of love' to Tosca was so convincingly passionate that any tenor would rightly be jealous. He did not portray Scarpia as the usual brute, but rather as a gambler type, and it worked. He could almost be considered cool, if only he wasn't playing with people's lives.”
Epoch Times, January 2011
“The singers' collective, a stunner... The third one in this infernal bunch: Jason Howard, a Baritone without the decided blackness that is often observed in Scarpia portrayals; with perfected gentleman's manners, and an always profoundly scary seeming noblesse of his timbre.”
Frankfurter Rundschau, January 2011
“Howard portrays the brutal Chief of Police Scarpia visually smart as an intelligent cynic...”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, January 2011
“The Welsh Baritone Jason Howard pleased as Scarpia with an attractive timbre...”
Frankfurter Neue Presse, January 2011
“Jason Howard as Scarpia, mean sod with a dangerous calm: goal oriented, cold and cynical, unimpressed by apparent throwbacks.”
BILD Zeitung Frankfurt, January 2011
Wotan in Wagner Die Walküre
“Jason Howard is a bright and well projected Wotan, benefitted for his debut in the role by a clarity in the low voice and excellent delivery of his long monologues.”
Altamusica.com, April 2008
“Jason Howard is again a Wotan sumptuous of timbre... he progressed strongly until the famous "Farewell" preserving superb low notes and solid high ones.”
Forum Opera, April 2008
“With a timbre of dark and light and a voice of steel, Jason Howard, who adheres without any hesitance to the complex God of Gods conceived by McVicar was revealed in this role debut as the Wotan of his generation.”
Bruno Serrou, La Croix, 6 May 2008
“Since Das Rheingold Jason Howard has gained in fabric and authority: his Wotan is impressive and powerful”
L'ALSACE, April 2008
“....the voice (of Jason Howard) has gained in power, the German pronunciation is notably better and as an actor he is much more involved. The singer manages his middle voice remarkably throughout the whole performance and finishes crescendo with a remarkable 'farewell', powerful of timbre and dominating the orchestra”
ResMusica.com, April 2008
“Now the case of Jason Howard.............The voice is always interesting, he invests the text without reproach (very beautiful and interesting recit in Act 2)...........Physically he was a divine incarnation without reproach, even really muscular (where would one see a Wotan so easily carry Brunnhilde in his arms?)”
ConcertoNet .com, May 2008
“We find again Jason Howard as Wotan, more humane and paternal, above all during the 'farewell' with Brunnhilde, who he carries in his arms to the rock.”
Les Affiches Moniteur, April 2008
“Jason Howard plays a Wotan who, like an unbridled horse tries to fight in vain the traps he has set himself. A sumptuous timbre and a well guided legato allows him to paint a very detailed portrait.”
Concert Classic- Le Journal
“Jason Howard, after his promising debut in Rheingold is a remarkable choice also for the Walkure Wotan. After a little while holding back in Act 2 he gives a remarkable perfomance, noble of timbre and clear diction right up until the final outburst.”
Das Opernglas, June 2008
“..And he has a vocal ensemble at his disposal, that others will envy him for. First of all, Jason Howard, a Wotan with powerful, melodious baritone, who knows to perform well.”
Rheinpfalz, April 2008
" Jason Howard continues to rise to the challenge of his first Wotan, pacing himself more cannily than in Rheingold (no hint of tiredness at the end), never being tempted to chuck out sound when it wasn't needed, and as before delivering the notes atop crystal-clear and meaningful diction: you hung on every word of his Narration…This is shaping into a really interesting Ring, and how nice it would be if it could be shared with one of our companies (Opera North? WNO?). Either way, roll on next year's Siegfried.”
Rodney Milnes, Opera Magazine UK, July 2008
"... Wotan, who - interpreted by Jason Howard (a huge and, at the same time, creamy baritone with a solid bass fundament) - was substantially responsible for the tension in the dialogue."
Opernwelt, June 2008
"Jason Howard's truly bright Wotan is central, by his physical presence itself. Also he is an eloquent singer who in the third Act mobilizes a tremendous amount of vocal reserves"
Badische neueste Nachrichten, April 2008
"The principal roles had profile and were cast with competence: warm and eloquent, Jason Howard interpreted Wotan without any sign of tiredness."
Kehler Zeitung, April 2008
“For Jason Howard who never dodges the complexities and ambiguities of Wotan, the role debut is very encouraging; the voice with time takes advantage of more colour and force.”
Les echos, April 2008
“Wotan is embodied by the scuptural Jason Howard, all muscle and power. One cannot help but think of James Morris in hearing and seeing him on stage. He has the same sensibility, that incredible capacity to transmit to the public the pain that afflicts him, that same pain which literally transforms his Wotan, for a moment so human. Jason Howard in manner recalled the pariesen Wotan of the Bob Wilson production as in a grey half toga, he shows an exceptional stage presence and is all God...first overproud then wavering. A real object lesson/display after his debut which we judged hesitant a year ago in Rheingold on the same stage.”
ClassiqueInfo.com, April 2008
“... And with the baritone Jason Howard, a Wotan without heaviness, who knows how to respond to the expectations of the role.”
Derniers Nouvelles Alsace, April 2008
Wanderer in Wagner Siegfried, Summer 2009
“Jason Howard campe un Wanderer inhabituellement dynamique : son baryton clair séduit dès les premières notes et peine peut-être à rendre sensibles les affres du dieu vieillissant qui se sait condamné, mais quelle précision dans l’intonation et quel aplomb imperturbable dans la conduite de la voix !”
Eric Pousaz, Scenes Magazine
“The final defiance of Jason Howard's Wanderer was perfectly timed, as the woodland set gave way to a more stylized final scene. Howard's Wotan has been one of the consistent and rewarding elements of this cycle.”
Stephen Mudge, Opera News Online
“Seine immense Bühnenpräsenz unterstreicht Jason Howard (Wanderer) mit markig und kernig geführtem Material und angenehm trimbriertem Bass-Bariton”
Gerhard Hoffmann, www.Der Opern Freund.de
“Sängerisch fällt dabei besonders schön der „Wanderer“ von Jason Howard ins Ohr, dessen Heldenbariton in rundem, klangreinem Volumen aufblüht.”
Eckhard Britsch, Opern Netz.de
“As the Wanderer, bass-baritone Jason Howard deserves credit for making Wotan more than someone who leans on his spear and shouts. Like Willard White and others recently singing this role, his detailed drawing of the troubled monarch is achieved not just with roof rattling voice but with clarity of idea and thoughtful acting.”
Frank Cadenhead, Opera Canada, Summer 2009