Judith Howarth

Judith Howarth

“Howarth, whom we hear too infrequently these days, is all effortless coloratura and thrilling high notes”

The Guardian

Representation: General Management


Judith 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 US and the Far East and has performed with most of the major international conductors of the last 20 years.


Full Biography

One of the most sought-after sopranos in Europe, Judith Howarth 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. During nine seasons there she sang many roles including Oscar Un Ballo in Maschera, Musetta La Bohème, Liu Turandot, Gilda Rigoletto, Morgana Alcina, Norina Don Pasquale, Cressida Troilus and Cressida and Marguerite Les Huguenots. Subsequent engagements world-wide include Musetta in Cincinnati, Ellen Orford Peter Grimes in Toulouse, Santiago de Chile and Oviedo, Christine Intermezzo and Aithra Die ägyptische Helena in Santa Fe, Nedda I Pagliacci and all four soprano roles in Les Contes d’Hoffmann for Florida Grand Opera, Olga Fedora for the Washington National Opera, Violetta La Traviata for the Minnesota Opera, English National Opera and Glyndebourne and Liu at the Staatsoper, Berlin, Dalila Samson (Handel) for the Netherlands Opera, Marie La fille du régiment in Geneva and Madame Mao Nixon in China for ENO.  Judith also sang the title role in Madama Butterfly in Helsinki, title role Maria Stuarda in Minnesota, Philip Glass 1000 Airplanes on the Roof with Rednote Ensemble, Elgar Caractacus at the Three Choirs Festival with Sir Andrew Davis, Glagolitic Mass and Dvorak Te Deum with CBSO at Symphony Hall, Birmingham and Verdi Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall.

On the concert platform Judith has toured with Plàcido Domingo to Seattle, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Brussels and Amsterdam, going on to sing Strauss’s 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 Georges Prêtre, Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Georg Solti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Claudio Abbado, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Charles Mackerras, and Seiji Ozawa.

Judith 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.

In 2004 she 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 I Puritani with Chelsea Opera Group, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem in Florence under Stefan Anton Reck, a repeat of her critically acclaimed performance of Madame Mao Nixon in China for the Greek National Opera, Catherine La jolie fille de Perth with Chelsea Opera Group, Britten’s War Requiem and Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the Three Choirs Festival, Parasha in Stravinsky’s Mavra in Athens and Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with the Bergen Philharmonic. Other appearances have included Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony in Gloucester Cathedral, La Fee Cendrillon for Chelsea Opera Group and Baroness Freimann Der Wildschütz at the Buxton Festival.  Judith also made a return to Finnish National Opera for Elisabetta Don Carlo, further performances of Madama Butterfly for WNO, Mathilde Guillaume Tell at the Rossini in Wildbad Belcanto Festival, title role in the new production of Maria Stuarda for Welsh National Opera, Desdemona Otello (Act 3) in a Verdi Concert at Bridgewater Hall with the Hallé Orchestra (Mark Elder), Ellen Orford Peter Grimes for ENO (Gardner) and Shakespeare in Concert with Vlaamse Opera (Dmitri Jurowski) including excerpts from Verdi’s Otello, a series of bel canto concerts based on the works of Sir Walter Scott for Scottish Opera, Elgar Spirit of England in Chester Cathedral and 1st Soprano (Magna Peccatrix) in Mahler 8th Symphony with Philharmonia at the Royal Festival Hall (Salonen).

Further engagements include Mrs Julian Owen Wingrave for Opéra National de Lorraine, Nancy, Four Last Songs in Aberdeen, masterclasses in China, Glagolitic Mass with Bergen Philharmonic (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 the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, Elijah with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Petrenko), Brahms Requiem in Aberdeen, Ellen Orford Peter Grimes for the Deutsche Oper, Berlin (Runnicles) and Katerina The Greek Passion for Graz Opera, 1st Soprano Mahler 8th Symphony with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Vladimir Jurowski) at the Royal Festival Hall and title role Madama Butterfly for Welsh National Opera.

Recent and forthcoming engagements include Rosalinde Die Fledermaus for Welsh National Opera, an Opera Gala with the orchestra of WNO at the Great Hall, Swansea, Mahler 8th Symphony at Ely Cathedral, Elgar King Olaf with Sir Andrew Davis at the Three Choirs Festival, and concerts in China, Vancouver and elsewhere in Europe.   Judith also returns to ENO to sing Venus in their new production of Orpheus in the Underworld, as well as Mahler Symphony No. 2 (Resurrection) at Salisbury Cathedral and Beethoven Missa Solemnis in Canterbury Cathedral.

Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.  Email: Elin Jones



Hazard Chase singers in Orpheus Series

September 27th, 2019

English National Opera’s Autumn 2019 season

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Three Choirs Festival: Hereford 2018

July 24th, 2018

Hazard Chase artists appearing at this year’s festival

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Symphony of a Thousand

April 6th, 2017

Mahler 8 jump in for Judith Howarth

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Butterfly returns to WNO

February 8th, 2017

Rebecca Afonwy-Jones (Suzuki), David Kempster (Sharpless) and Judith Howarth (Cio-Cio San) appear in the revival of Puccini’s heartbreaker.

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ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD – English National Opera

“Judith Howarth is a fiery Venus atop the vocal stave.”

The Classical Source, Alexander Campbell (October 2019)

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Mahler 8th Symphony – London Philharmonic, Vladimir Jurowski

“Judith Howarth and Anne Schwanewilms standing out in a strong group of soloists”
The Guardian, Martin Kettle (April 2017)

Mahler 8th Symphony – Philharmonia Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen

“Judith Howarth and Elizabeth Llewellyn soared up to soprano heights with ease”
The Guardian, George Hall (July 2014)

The Verdi-Boito Story – Opera Excerpts with the Hallé Orchestra (Elder)

“Judith Howarth took over at short notice as Desdemona …her singing exuded quality.”
Philip Radcliffe, The Arts Desk (November 2013)

“Judith Howarth in glorious voice as Desdemona at the climax of a revelatory evening”
Hilary Finch, The Times (November 2013)

Donizetti MARIA STUARDA – Welsh National Opera

“Howarth, whom we hear too infrequently these days, is all effortless coloratura and thrilling high notes”
Tim Ashley, The Guardian (September 2013)

“The evenings main redeeming feature was Judith Howarth in the title role. One blip aside, she sang with superb technique and richly expressive phrasing, making something both moving and lovely of the two grand finale scenes. Zinging top E flats were icing on the cake”
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph (September 2013)

“Equally impressive was Judith Howarth’s thrilling, effortless coloratura as Maria Stuarda, commanding and passionate in the early scenes, movingly exquisite in the finale”
Peter Reynolds, Opera Now (November 2013)

“Judith Howarth in the title role thrilling”
Mike Smith, Wales on Line (September 2013)

“Judith Howarth was in splendid vocal form as Maria, emotionally expressive, simultaneously strong and vulnerable, able to deploy a wide vocal range and some brilliant coloratura. In the final scenes of the opera Howarth transcended the vulgarity which characterised much of the staging and realised Bardari and Donizetti’s conception of a Mary relatively serene and purged, able to approach death freed of the jealousy and desire for revenge which has evidently motivated her earlier. Howarth’s was probably the stand out performance in the cast, but no one let the side down.”
Glyn Purseglove, Seen and Heard International (September 2013)

Verdi REQUIEM – Royal Albert Hall

“The wonderful Judith Howarth really came into her own later in the work, producing a finely controlled, other-worldly tone in the ‘Libera me’, nailing an exquisitely soft high B flat on the word “requiem” and then soaring to a sensational top C at the end of the fugue, and, in a building where you really get the point of a singer’s vibrato, she delivered a quietly poised, fluidly phrased, perfectly pitched ‘Agnus Dei’ with Julia Riley.”
Peter Reed, Classical Source (June 2012)


“Of the four, Judith Howarth’s passionate effulgence towered supreme (she was even more awesome in the earlier Te Deum of Dvorák)”
David Hart, Birmingham Post (November 2011)

Elgar CARACTACUS – Three Choirs Festival (Sir Andrew Davis)

“The five soloists ranged from good to outstanding…Judith Howarth’s nuanced, lustrously sung Eigen demonstrably taking the honours.”
David Hart, Birmingham Post (August 2011)

Puccini MADAMA BUTTERFLY – English National Opera

“Howarth’s full lyric soprano… her generous tone and perfect diction are a constant pleasure.”
Neil Fisher, The Times (June 2009)

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Discography & Repertoire


Judith Howarth (soprano) with the London Symphony Chorus and Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by John Wilson

SOMM (2015)



With Judith Howarth (Berta), Barry Banks (Odone), Riccardo Novaro (Ordamante) and Katarina Karneus (Orvina) with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Stuart Stratford



With Judith Howarth and Eirian James.  Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jaime Laredo

NIMBUS (2008)

Mercadante – MARIA STUARDA, REGINA DI SCOZIAhowarth_disc_mercadante_stuarda

With Judith Howarth (Maria), Jennifer Larmore (Olfredo), Colin Lee (Ormondo) and Pauls Putnins (Ferrondo) with the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Antonello Allemandi


Wolf-Ferrari – IL SEGRETO DI SUSANNAhowarth_disc_wolf_segredo

With Judith Howarth (Susanna), Angel Odena (Count Gil) with Oviedo Philharmonia conducted by Friedrich Haider


R. Strauss – THE COMPLETE ORCHESTRAL SONGShowarth_disc_strauss_songs

With Judith Howarth, Adrianne Pieczonka, Edita Gruberova (sopranos), Peter Straka (tenor), Bo Skovhus (baritone) and Kurt Moll (bass) with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice conducted by Friedrich Haider


Poulenc – STABAT MATER (DVD)howarth_disc_poulenc_stabat

With Judith Howarth (soprano) and the Cambridge Choirs of St Johns, Clare and Gonville & Caius conducted by Christopher Robinson

OPUS ARTE (2002)

Artist Manager

John McHugh (Cambridge)
01223 706024

Associate Artist Manager

Elin Jones (Cambridge)
01223 706026