Jason Howard press reviews
Wotan, Die Walküre
Longborough Festival Opera, July 2010
The Sunday Times
Alwyn Mellor’s feisty, Italianate Brünnhilde and Jason Howard’s imposing Wotan are already estimable Wagnerian achievements.
The Birmingham Post
And in the cast, not a weak link among the principals, with Jason Howard heroically conveying the contemptibility of Wotan’s character (finally achieving partial redemption at the very end of the opera).
You have to wonder how these casting decisions are made when even little Longborough Opera can manage (in Jason Howard) a better Wotan than Bayreuth.
And the Wotan of Jason Howard, though that role is indefinitely explorable, is already a searching reading, with the immense monologue compelling in the way few things are in the whole of opera.
In his UK debut as Wotan, Bass-baritone is a handsome physical presence, and vocally too, he manages to be noble yet vulnerable.
Wotan, Die Walküre,
Opera National du Rhin (Strasbourg) June 2008
Rodney Milnes, Opera Magazine UK, July 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.
Opernwelt, June 2008
...auch kaum eine Brunnhilde im dritten Akt mit solchem Nachdruck auf Wotan einwirkte. Der trug in der gestalt Jason Howards (ein wuchtiger, doch auch sehniger bariton auf festem Bass-fundament) diese Dialogspannung wesentlich mit.
...influenced 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.
Das Opernglas, June 2008
Nach seinem debut viel versprechenden Debut im "Rheingold" erwies sich Jason Howard auch bei seinem ersten 'Walkure" Wotan als hervorragende Wahl. Nur in der Erzaehlung im zweiten Akt liess er anfanglich leichte Zuruckhaltung erkennen. Danach bestach seine gesangliche Leistung bis zum glanzend gemeisterten Finale durch auftrumpfende Grosse, edlen und doch kernigen Klang sowie-durch eine sehr klare Diktion.
Jason Howard, after his promising debut in Rheingold is a remarkable choice also for the WalkureWotan. 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.
Concerto Net.com, 22nd May 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 carry so easily Brunnhilde in his arms)
Bruno Serrou, La Croix, 6th May 2008
Timbre d'ombres et de lumieres, voix d'airain, Jason Howard , qui adhere sans retenue au dieu des dieux complexe brosse par McVicar, a'avere pour sa prise de role comme le Wotan de sa generation.
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.
Les Affiches Moniteur, 25th April 2008
On retrouve Jason Howard, Wotan plus humain et paternel, surtout lors des adieux avec Brunnhilde, la portant dans ses bras jusqu'au rocher.
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.
Altamusica.com, 25th April 2008
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.
Forum Opera, 25th April 2008
Jason Howard est encore un Wotan somptueux de timbre... tient la route jusqu'aux fameux adieux en gardant de superbes graves et solides aigus.
Jason Howard is again a Wotan sumptuous of timbre... he progressed strongly until the famous "Farewell" preserving superb low notes and solid high ones.
Les Echos, 24th April 2008
Pour Jason Howard, qui n'esquive rien des complexites et des ambiguites de Wotan, la prise de role est encourageante; la voix prendra avec le temps davantage de couleur et de force.
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.
Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 23rd April 2008
Allein durch seine physische Prasenz steht Jason Howards grosskornig heller Wotan in Zentrum, auch er ein textgewandter Sanger, der in dritten Akt immense Stimmreserven mobilisiert.
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.
ClassiqueInfo.com, 23rd April 2008
Wotan est incarne par le sculptural Jason Howard, tout en muscle et en puissance. On ne peut s'empecher de penser a James Morris en l' ecoutant et le voyant sur scene. Ils ont la mame sensibilte, cette capacite incroyable de transmettre au public la douleur qui les afflige, cette meme douleur qui transfigurait litteralment ce Wotan par moment si humain. Jason Howard, dans une tenue rappelant celle du Wotan parisien de la production de Bob Wilson, a savoir une demi toge grise, fait preuve d'une presence scenique exceptionelle, et a tout d'un dieu, d'bord orgueilleux puis vaccilant. Une vrais demonstration apres des debuts que nous avions juges hesitants l'an passe dans l'Or du Rhin sur la meme scene.
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.
Rheinpfalz, 21st April 2008
...Und er hat ein Saenger- Ensemble zur Verfugung, um das ihn viele beneiden koennen. Allen voran Jason Howard, ein Wotan mit machtvollem, wohlklingenden Bariton, der klug zu gestalten weiss.
...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.
Kehler Zeitung, 21st April 2008
Die Hauptpartien waren profiliert und kompetent besetz: Warm und textverstandlich, dabei ermudungsfrei formte Jason Howard den Wotan aus.
The principal roles had profile and were cast with competence: warm and eloquent, Jason Howard interpreted Wotan without any sign of tiredness.
Derniers Nouvelles Alsace, 20th April 2008
... et avec le baryton Jason Howard un Wotan sans lourdeur, qui sait repondre aux attentes du role.
... and with the baritone Jason Howard, a Wotan without heaviness, who knows how to respond to the expectations of the role.
L'Alsace, 20th April 2008
Depuis l'Or du Rhin, Jason Howard a gagne en etoffe et en autorite: son Wotan est impressionnant et puissant.
Since Das Rheingold Jason Howard has gained in fabric and authority: his Wotan is impressive and powerful.
ResMusica.com, 19th 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.
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Minnesota Opera, May 2010
Playing the fated subject of Salome’s wanton desire, baritone Jason Howard lends a doomed righteousness to Jokanaan that is both unerringly wise and untouchably pious. These characteristics are on electrifying display in Howard’s gripping defiance of Salome’s delirious overtures. Howard’s voice is that of the fated martyr willing to sacrifice all on the altar of spiritual rectitude.
She's complemented by the powerful baritone voice and commanding presence of Jason Howard as Jokanaan, the John the Baptist character.
Minnesota Star Tribune
Khudoley has a worthy foil in Jason Howard's commanding, sonorous John; his "Never, daughter of Babylon," hurled at her, is the evening's most chilling moment.
As for the Baptist - Jokanaan, as he is known in the opera - Jason Howard, who, with his sculpted physique looked more like Tarzan than the famous Christian prophet, sang his flowing utterances with rich, stentorian tone.
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Opera Carolina, May 2010
Classical Voice of North Carolina.org (Perry Tannenbaum)
On the other hand, Ross seemed inclined to drain Iago’s vendetta against Otello of all its melodrama. Welsh baritone Jason Howard didn’t allow that to happen in a brilliant Charlotte debut. Racially-based or not, there was a vicious snap to this Iago’s hatred toward the Moor, and his embrace of pure evil in the famed “Credo” aria at the start of Act 2 was a jolt that turned up the voltage for the rest of the evening. That black leather costume and the slicked-back hair further accented Howard’s malignity.
"Not from here are you" blogsport.com
Howard lends the right dose of deviousness to Iago, plotting, scheming and orchestrating the twisted seed of doubt in Otello while at the same time duping the oft promoted Cassio. Howard's baritone stands as a literal foil to the flawed protagonist Othello. He effortlessly wields it like a sword; with heft, deft and danger.
Opera News, May 2010 (Luther Wade)
Jason Howard was a straightforwardly evil Iago. His dark baritone and sure delivery made the character's machinations hypnotically believable; his "Credo" was a particular musical and vocal highlight.
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Toronto, August 2010
The Toronto Star (Richard Ouzounian)
From the first note of the overture, with conductor Lawrence Goldberg leading a superb 26-piece orchestra (largely local), it’s obvious this is a production that will sound as beautiful as it ought to. And once you hear the rich voices of the three principles (Jason Howard, Carmen Cusack and Anderson Davies), you can rest assured that all is well...
...With all of that accomplished, the leading players can move in for the kill. Toronto based Jason Howard is, quite frankly, a perfect Emile de Becque. He has the right age, the right weight, the right charm. He knows how to dispense both elegant sophistication and uncensored emotion with equal ease.
And his voice — the aural equivalent of a finely polished piece of mahogany — adds incredible depth and texture to those heartfelt Rodgers tunes like "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine".
Scenechanges .com (Jeniva Berger)
...South Pacific is first and foremost a love story though themes of racism and bigotry and the the effects of war, violence, and exploitation are fundamental. The first scene of South Pacific sets it all in motion. Book writers Richard Rodgers and Joshua Logan easily bypass any lengthy build up to a love affair that is still in its infancy at the start of the musical between nurse Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque, a wealthy plantation owner who is some 20 years her senior. Both Carmen Cusack as an unprepossessing, naive southern girl from Little Rock Arkansas and Jason Howard's gallant, virile Emile de Becque make it look so natural that never for a moment do we doubt how quickly Nellie and Emile have developed a deep affection for each other.
It's a glorious scene, thanks to some marvelous songs that range from the charming Dites-Moi sung by de Becque's part Tonkinese children (Cristina Carrera and CJ Palma), the lilting A Cockeyed Optimist which Carmen Cusack delivers with a sunny wholesomeness, the anxiety of two people facing questions about their sudden feelings in Twin Soliloquies, and Jason Howard's soaring Some Enchanted Evening.
The Toronto Sun (John Coulhourn)
...Happily, there is a host of impressive performances too. For all that the actors cast in all of the principal roles seem to be a little off centre from what one might expect -- all of them except Welsh-born, Toronto-based Jason Howard. He uses a voice as rich and smooth as old port, as well as some smooth acting, to create an Emile de Becque for the ages.
The Globe and Mail (Kelly Nestruck)
...Led by Carmen Cusack as a charming, understated Ensign Nellie Forbush, the cast have top-notch voices, but also are serious actors. Anderson Davis’s conflicted Lieutenant Cable – who is, indeed, in the words of Blood Mary, "damn sexy" – is a stand-out, while baritone Jason Howard’s Emile de Becque comes to full bloom when he delivers his operatic, deeply moving account of This Nearly was Mine.
NowToronto.com (Glen Sumi)
But there are many things to enjoy here, including a fine 26-member orchestra who bring out all the richness of the score. And there’s not a weak link in the cast. Howard delivers the best rendition of This Nearly Was Mine I’ve yet heard, and even makes you forget how often you’ve heard Some Enchanted Evening.
James Karas Reviews. blogspot
...South Pacific is set during World War II and involves two unorthodox love stories. The main love story is between Ensign Nellie Forbush (Carmen Cusack), a nurse from Little Rock and an older French planter named Emile de Becque (Jason Howard).
Cusack and Howard get some of the best and most famous songs in Broadway history. He sings "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine" with sustained sonority and vocal splendour. Cusack sings "A Cockeyed Optimist", "I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Outa Ma Hair" and "Honey Bun" with verve and vocal beauty. She has a luminous voice that is a delight to listen to.
Lincoln Center Theater Touring Production December 2009
Matching Cusack in every aspect is the ebullient, glamorous, dashing Jason Howard, performing as Emile de Becque in this US tour with support from UK Equity. Howard conveys an old-fashioned chivalry and mature elegance in his demeanor while matching any 2009 Romeo in youthful vigor and earnestness while pursuing love and arguing for tolerance of mixed race relationship. Who wouldn’t want a modern-minded lover with the manners and panache of a free spirited entrepreneur from the “greatest generation” era? Howard’s characterization blends the classic and modern with every gracious movement and word he utters. And when the man sings? His confident, resplendent baritone soars out through the multiple levels of the gorgeous, new performance space, a superb test case for the Winspear’s resonant acoustics. In addition to singing opera and musical theatre from Strasbourg to Seattle, Howard has recorded a personal solo tribute album to Gordon MacRae and Howard Keel. Seize the opportunity to appreciate his rare vocal talents and his defining portrayal of a Rodgers and Hammerstein iconic romantic lead.
The Dallas Observer
South Pacific cuts right to the chase. Moments after the orchestra plays the overture, ex-patriot Frenchman Emile de Becque begins making overtures of his own, playing up to pretty Navy nurse Nellie Forbush. They're at the end of their first real date. Under the influence of good brandy and the warm breezes wafting into Emile's island plantation manor, the couple flirts with a feverish intensity. For some stupid reason, she keeps pulling away.
Then Emile sings "Some Enchanted Evening" to Nellie, that most intoxicating of love songs and only the fourth number into the show, and it's amour all around. They fall in love with each other, and we fall in love with them for the next two and a half hours. That's the irresistible charm of this show. To listen to its glorious score is to be swept into musical theater paradise and into the fantastic idea that across a crowded room, true love waits with arms outstretched.
The leads certainly have believable chemistry. As Emile, Welsh opera singer Jason Howard, who joined the tour for the first time in Dallas, is broad-shouldered and handsome but not too handsome. (Actually, Howard looks a bit like Troy McClure, the Simpsons character, at least in profile.) And even if he is a little stiff in dialogue, Howard's singing is as rich, warm and sweet as the stuff you pour on flapjacks. He sure clicks in the clinches with his gal Nellie, played by Carmen Cusack.
Pegasus News.com Fort Worth
The cast is extremely solid, with Carmen Cusack and Jason Howard in the leads. It took us a few scenes to get used to Howard’s über-deep baritone, but to say he’s got a commanding presence is an understatement.
Jason Howard as Emile de Becque is wonderful. Handsome, rich voice, very suave.
Palm Beach Arts paper
As is the tradition, Emile comes from the world of opera, but Jason Howard has the acting chops -- as well as the lung power -- to embody the character completely.
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Welsh National Opera, May 2009
Richard Morrison - The Times (May 2009)
"....though it's an odd sort of Boheme when the character you most want to hear and see is the painter Marcello. But as portrayed by Jason Howard he’s by far the most potent presence in every scene: surging power in the voice and a palpably sardonic attitude to life and love that effectively counterpoints the soft-centred idealism of the lovers. The moment when he jumps on the Café Momus table and roars out his reprise of Musetta’s Act II song (upstaging, in every respect, Victoria Joyce’s pert but thin-toned rendition) is one of the production’s most joyous moments. Howard, once a South Wales fireman, is now singing Wotan, Iago and Dutchman just about everywhere except Britain. I hope that will change soon."
Rian Evans - The Guardian (May 2009)
Jason Howard as Marcello was a treat. Since moving into Wagner, Howard's burnished baritone is a good deal weightier than when he first sang on this set in 1993, but he still pulls it off with panache.
Der Wanderer, Siegfried
Opera National Du Rhin (Strasbourg) 2009
Scenes Magazine, Eric Pousaz
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!
Opera News Online, Stephen Mudge
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. In Siegfried, he compensated with deeply considered phrasing that was particularly effective in his dealing with Mime and his brother Alberich.
Le Figaro. fr, Christian Merlin
Wanderer élégant de Jason Howard : il compense le manque de noirceur et d'ampleur de sa voix par le style et le phrasé.
www.Der OpernFreund.de (Gerhard Hoffmann)
Seine immense Bühnenpräsenz unterstreicht Jason Howard (Wanderer) mit markig und kernig geführtem Material und angenehm trimbriertem Bass-Bariton
Opernnetz.de, Eckhard Britsch
Sängerisch fällt dabei besonders schön der „Wanderer“ von Jason Howard ins Ohr, dessen Heldenbariton in rundem, klangreinem Volumen aufblüht.
Opera Canada, Summer 2009, Frank Cadenhead
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.