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.
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.
In a prestigious career built on excellent bel canto credentials, Barry Banks performances of roles by Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti have taken him to the world’s leading opera houses including The Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Teatre del Liceu and the Salzburg Festival, culminating in his debut this season at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in a revival of Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra. In the USA, his season will not only include debuts at Opera Philadelphia (The Love for Three Oranges), and at Dallas Opera (The Golden Cockerel); but will also include the world premiere of Matt Aucoin’s Eurydice at Los Angeles Opera. Concert highlights include Lulu with the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst.
Notable operatic roles have included Banks’ debut as Arnold (Guillaume Tell) at Welsh National Opera, the title role in Mitridate, re di Ponto and Don Narciso (Il turco in Italia) at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Ernesto (Don Pasquale) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Count Almaviva at Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Idreno (Semiramide) at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore) at the Metropolitan Opera. He has appeared as Iago in Rossini’s Otello at both Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Salzburger Festspiele. The role of Don Ramiro (La cenerentola) saw his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, and Oreste (Ermione) marked his debut at the Santa Fe Festival. He made his debut in Vienna as Norfolk (Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra) at Theater an der Wien, at the Teatro Real, Madrid as the Astrologer in The Golden Cockerel and at Opernhaus Zuerich as Pirelli in Sweeney Todd.
During a long association with English National Opera he has appeared as Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), Edgardo (in David Alden’s acclaimed production of Lucia di Lammermoor), Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) and as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto.
In concert Barry Banks has performed Berlioz’ Grand Messe des Morts under Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra which was released to considerable acclaim on LSO Live. He sang in Britten’s War Requiem at the Teatro alla Scala under Xian Zhang, The Dream of Gerontius with the Münchner Philharmoniker under Sir Andrew Davis, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Daniele Gatti and Gurrelieder with Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de Espana under the baton of David Afkham.
Barry Banks’ discography includes Mitridate with Classical Opera Company (Ian Page), The Elixir of Love, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, The Thieving Magpie and The Magic Flute in the ‘Opera in English’ series for Chandos. DVD releases include Armida from The Metropolitan Opera. His solo recital disc for Chandos - Barry Banks sings Bel Canto Arias - received substantial critical acclaim and his performance in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Utah Symphony Orchestra under Thierry Fischer is released on the Reference Records label.
Born in Stockholm, Katarina Karnéus studied at Trinity College of Music in London, and at the National Opera Studio. In 1995 she won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Since then she has appeared throughout the world in opera, concert and recital and worked with many leading conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Roger Norrington, Antonio Pappano, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst, Donald Runnicles and Ivor Bolton.
Opera engagements have included appearances at the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Opéra National de Paris, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, the Netherlands Opera Amsterdam, La Monnaie Brussels, Grand Théâtre de Génève and Oper Frankfurt . Her repertoire includes the great mezzo roles of Handel, Mozart, Rossini, Bizet, Wagner and Strauss and highlights of recent seasons have included Brangaene / Tristan und Isolde at Glyndebourne, Stuttgart, the Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra and Gothenburg, the title role in Ariane et Barbe-bleu in Paris and Frankfurt, Elisabetta/Maria Stuarda in Berlin, Der Komponist in Geneva, the title role in Xerxes in Stockholm, Fricka in Barcelona and Erwartung in Gothenburg, the title role in Norma as well as Klytaemnestra / Elektra in Gothenburg, Herodias / Salome for Opera North and the title role in Der Besuch der alten Dame for the Theater an der Wien. Engagements in 2018/19 included Fricka / Das Rheingold and Santuzza / Cavalleria Rusticana for the Gothenberg Opera and Judith / Bluebeard’s Castle in Brno and in 2019/20 she will sing Fricka / Die Walküre and Hébé / La Ville Morte for Gothenburg Opera and Waldtaube / Gurrelieder for the Helsinki Festival.
In concert, Katarina Karnéus has worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic (Szymanowski’s Love Songs of Hafiz with Rattle and the title role in Hänsel und Gretel with Elder), the Cleveland Orchestra (Der Rosenkavalier with Welser-Möst), the NDR Symphony, the Vienna Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and at the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh Festival and the Salzburg Festival.
As a recitalist she has been heard in many major venues in Europe and North America including London’s Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Lincoln CenterNew York, La Monnaie Brussels, Frankfurt, Washington, San Francisco and Frankfurt.
In 1999 EMI released her first solo recital disc, of songs by Mahler, Strauss, and Marx, accompanied by Roger Vignoles, described in the Gramophone as “an outright winner….one of the most satisfying CDs of Lieder to appear in recent months.”, followed , also on EMI, by Ravel’s Chansons Madecasses with Stephen Kovacevich, Emanuel Pahud and Truls Mørk. Since then she has recorded two albums for Hyperion, of Sibelius and Grieg songs. Other recordings include orchestral songs by Schreker with the BBC Philharmonic and Vassily Sinaisky, Szymanowski’s Love Songs of Hafiz with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle on EMI, Mahler’s Symphony No 8 with the San Francisco Symphony conducted my Michael Tilson-Thomas (which received two Grammy Awards as best album and best choral album of 2009.), the three Mahler song cycles with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Susanna Mälkki for BIS and the title role in Donizetti’s Rita for Opera Rara, conducted by Sir Mark Elder. Her performance of Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde from Glyndebourne can now be seen on DVD.
Recent and future concert highlights include performances with the New York Philharmonic, Gothenberg Symphony, Hallé, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Symphony, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio-France, Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony, Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic, Liceu Barcelona, Dresden Philharmonie, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, Netherlands Philharmonic, tours in Europe and the US with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, performances at Wiener Kozerthaus, Baltic Sea Festival, Edinburgh International Festival and the BBC Proms as well as recitals at the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, London, and the Oxford Lieder Festival.
Katarina Karnéus is a member of the Gothenburg Opera and acts as an international ambassador for the company. She was presented with the Litteris et Artibus medal by H.M. The King of Sweden in 2015 and is a Court Singer for the Swedish Royal Court.