Welsh bass Gwynne Howell made his Royal Opera debut in 1970 as First Nazarene (Salome). His many roles since for The Royal Opera have included Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Prince Gremin (Eugene Onegin), Pimen (Boris Godunov), Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Capulet (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), King Marke (Tristan und Isolde), Jacopo Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Rocco (Fidelio), Fasolt (Das Rheingold), Jorg (Stiffelio), Savël Prokofjevič Dikoj (Kát’a Kabanová), Riedinger (Mathis der Maler), Anton Brus von Müglitz (Palestrina), Fotis (The Greek Passion), Old Convict (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), Gonzalo (The Tempest, world premiere), Simone (Gianni Schicchi) and Schigolch (Lulu). In the 2014/15 Season he sings Doctor Grenvil (La traviata) for the Company.
Howell was born in Swansea and studied at the Royal Northern College of Music. He is a former member of the ensembles of Sadler’s Wells Opera and the Royal Opera House and has sung regularly for English National Opera and Welsh National Opera and internationally for opera houses and concert venues in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Paris, Geneva, Hamburg, Munich and Cologne, among others. His wide repertory has included Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Gurnemanz (Parsifal), Philip II (Don Carlo) and Duke Bluebeard. He created roles in The Silver Tassie, Taverner and The Doctor of Myddfai.
Howell has also had a prolific concert career, singing under conductors including Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti and Seiji Ozawa. He was made a CBE in 1998.
Francesco Demuro as Rinuccio, Alan Oke as Gherardo, Robert Poulton as Marco, Gwynne Howell as Simone, Lucio Gallo as Gianni Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi © ROH / Bill Cooper 2011
Francesco Demuro, Alan Oke, Peter Curtis, Robert Poulton, Gwynne Howell and Lucio Gallo in Gianni Schicchi (Il trittico), The Royal Opera © ROH/Bill Cooper, 2011
Rebecca Evans as Nella, Alan Oke as Gherardo, Francesco Demuro as Rinuccio, Robert Poulton as Marco, Elena Zilio as Zita, Gwynne Howell as Simone, Marie McLaughlin as La Ciesca and Jeremy White as Betto Di Signa in Gianni Schicchi © ROH / Bill Cooper 2011
Gwynne Howell in Lulu, The Royal Opera © Clive Barda