Obituary: Famed Mezzo Anne Howells Passes at 81

By Nicolas Quiroga

Mezzo-soprano Anne Howells passed away on May 18, 2022. She was 81.

Born on January 12, 1941 in Southport, England, Howells studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and made her professional debut in 1966 as Flora in “La Traviata” with the Welsh National Opera. That would be followed by a debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 1967; she would perform the same role.

Debuts in Chicago in 1972 and at the Metropolitan Opera in 1973 would follow.

She was also a fixture at Glyndebourne where she first appeared as a choir member before taking on small roles and eventually leading ones in such operas as “Ariadne auf Naxos,” “Arabella,” and “The Bartered Bride,” among others. Her association with the famed festival started in 1967 and lasted all the way through 1999.

She also appeared at the San Francisco Opera, the Los Angeles Opera Houses, the Opéra National de Paris, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, and the Salzburger Festspiele, among others.

She made several major recordings including the CD of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s “Gawain” and a DVD production of “Der Rosenkavalier” alongside Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at the Royal Opera House Convent Garden.