robert howarth

conductor

biography

Robert Howarth read music at the University of York and is fast establishing a enviable reputation as director and conductor of early and classical repertoire.

Howarth’s opera engagements have included Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria for Opernhaus Zürich and Longborough Festival Opera; Giulio Cesare and Die Zauberflöte for Opera North; Agrippina at The Grange Festival; The Fairy Queen in St Gallen, Haydn’s L’Isola Disabitata for the Norwegian Opera, L’Incoronazione di Poppea with the Academy of Ancient Music at The Barbican, London and in Venice and Dido and Aeneas with The English Concert at the Buxton Festival and Birmingham Opera Company. Amongst other projects he has directed are Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria for Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Opera Company and English Touring Opera; Alcina for the Hamburg State Opera, Theater St Gallen and English Touring Opera, Monteverdi Ballo del Ingrate with Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda for the Birmingham Opera Company, Acis and Galatea with The Early Opera Company and Tolomeo for English Touring Opera. Other projects include Charpentier La déscente d’Orphée aux enfers for Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Programme, Charpentier Actéon and Purcell King Arthur for the Dartington International Summer School and Almeida La Spinalba for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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Howarth was Music Director for Claire van Kampen’s play Farinelli and the King staring Mark Rylance and Iestyn Davies at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Duke of York’s Theatre, London and Belasco Theater, New York.

He has led a number of programmes with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment such as Messiah in Spain and Moscow; Monteverdi Vespers 1610, (recorded for OAE Released), The Glory of Venice – Gabrieli and contemporaries – and Bach Lutheran Masses. He has conducted Messiah with The Hallé Orchestra, Danish Radio Symphony Ochestra, Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra; St Matthew Passion with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra; Mozart, Haydn and Rameau with The English Concert; Monteverdi and Rossi with the Early Opera Company; Bach and Handel with the English Chamber Orchestra; Bach Cantatas with the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and Athalia for the Ambronay Festival. He regularly co-directs La Serenissima, most recently for Vivaldi’s Ottone in Villa.

His future engagements includeHaydn Creation and Seasons in Bilbao and Tamerlano at The Grange Festival.

 September 2021

Robert Howarth is represented for General Management. For all enquiries please contact Caroline Phillips cphillips@caroline-phillips.co.uk

reviews

Monteverdi Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria – Longborough Festival Opera

Conducting from the harpsichord, Robert Howarth drew seemingly endless variety from La Serenissima—here a string quartet plus theorbo—as the players clung closely to the drama.

Opera, September 2021

Cutting against the grime and violence of the setting is the polish of period specialists La Serenissima, directed from the harpsichord by Robert Howarth.

The Independent 21 July 2021

Conducting from the harpsichord, Robert Howarth draws seemingly endless variety from a small instrumental ensemble, reflecting the evolutions of the drama and Monteverdi’s prodigious invention.

The Stage, 19 July 2021

…the acoustic is better than it has any right to be, placing Robert Howarth’s inventive and bold continuo playing, and the spirited six-piece period instrument ensemble of La Serenissima in a supportive but far from subdued relationship to the singers. This is a powerful and engrossing evening of music theatre..

The Arts Desk, 19 July 2021

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Monteverdi’s music laments, sighs, caresses, rages; bolstered by the gutsy thrum of the music director Robert Howarth’s five-strong La Serenissima.

The Times, 14 July 2021

text is key to performing Monteverdi, and everyone is supported in this by Robert Howarth, conducting from the harpsichord a small band of period instrumentalists (La Serenissima).

The Times, 14 July 2021

Directing La Serenissima from the harpsichord, Robert Howarth keeps a tight rein, the instrumental playing carrying clearly…

The Guardian, 14 July 2021

 

Mozart The Magic Flute – Opera North

.. the music-making under period-specialist conductor Robert Howarth maintains spirited tempos and energised textures.

The Stage 21 January 2019

 

Robert Howarth conducts a robust and muscular account of the score …

The Daily Telegraph, 20 January 2019

Conductor Robert Howarth propels the score forward with great urgency and clarity,

The Guardian, 20 January 2019

 

Handel Agrippina – The Grange Festival

The Grange Festival’s production of Agrippina with the Academy of Ancient Music strikes gold … Excellent playing by the AAM under Robert Howarth.

Gramophone, October 2019 (review of live stream)

The Academy of Ancient Music played brilliantly for Robert Howarth – what an unassuming, devoted musician he is, and what glorious performances he inspires.

MusicOMH, 17 June 2018

Robert Howarth directed robust and lively playing by the Academy of Ancient Music. Here’s an Agrippina to convert naysayers to Handel.

The Times, 12 June 2018

In the pit, the Academy of Ancient Music play with sensuous clarity for Robert Howarth. … this is a classy, provocative entertainment, and hugely enjoyable.

The Guardian, 11 June 2018

Handel’s great achievement is to couch all this in a dazzling stream of arias which are themselves richly dramatic, and which are supported here by lovely playing from the Academy of Ancient Music under Robert Howarth’s direction

The Independent, 11 June 2018

… and thanks too to the excellent Academy of Ancient Music and Robert Howarth’s energetic conducting, the show zips happily along, all-but pitch-perfect.

The Stage, 11 June 2018

Under Robert Howarth’s energetic direction, the Academy of Ancient Music breathed plenty of life into Handel’s early masterpiece,

Bachtrack, 11 June 2018

… conductor Robert Howarth, a motivating presence here in charge of the period-instrument Academy of Ancient Music. With all the singers well attuned to the intricacies of Baroque vocal style, high musical values were consistently achieved.

Financial Times, 10 June 2018

The Academy of Ancient Music under Robert Howarth brought Handel’s tremendous score to life with surpassing vividness. In all it’s a terrific show, and the only Handel production I’ve ever seen which obeys the old showbiz principle: leave your audience wanting more.

Telegraph, 9 June 2018

Under Robert Howarth, the Academy of Ancient Music provides a crisp, energetic reading of Handel’s lively score, revealing the many aspects of the twenty-four-year-old’s genius in matching music to the multifarious psychological and dramatic demands of the narrative. The continuo section in particular wisely and skilfully ensures an unflagging pace in threading the recitatives through the vocal numbers so as to keep up an engaging sense of momentum. Howarth points up dramatic moments with appropriate expressive emphases with the AAM bringing out the colour of the score without making it seem incongruous.

Classical Source, 8 June 2018

Excellent playing, too, by the AAM under Robert Howarth.

Gramophone, October 2019

 

Monteverdi The Other Vespers Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment – King’s Place

Directed from the keyboard by Robert Howarth, Monteverdi: The Other Vespers was a fascinating illustration of continuity and reinvention in historical performance practice… Howarth emphasised the madrigalian pep and wit of Monteverdi’s vocal writing, in proportion to the acoustic immediacy of Kings Place.

The Times 18 January 2016

 

Farinelli and the King  – Duke of York’s Theatre

Robert Howarth directed the music from the harpsichord … the director’s customary combination of scintillating playing and collaborative musicianship.

Music OMH 29 September 2015

Monteverdi Vespers 1610 –  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment –  City of London Festival

[Robert Howarth] was unfailingly tasteful in approach, enjoying, without overegging, the richness of the massed sound, and lingering just long enough over some of Monteverdi’s most scalptingling moments: the dying breaths of the “Laudate Pueri”, for instance, and the harmonic wrangling between the three tenors in the “Duo Seraphim”. Certain sections, not least the soprano duet “Pulchra es”, had an operatic intensity,

Financial Times 2 July 2015

Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers at St Paul’s Cathedral, given by the Orchestra and Choir of the Age of Enlightenment in a realisation by Robert Howarth … had a deeply moving impact … — superb vocal formations one after another, a glorious rendering of the ample Ave Maris Stella hymn and a tremendous Magnificat.

The Times 12 July 2015

 

St Matthew Passion –  RTE National Symphony Orchestra

The NSO’s Bach moved up a gear in the St Matthew Passion. Conductor Robert Howarth’s approach was fluid, pacy and at times highly dramatic, and the orchestral playing impressively sinewy, as good as I’ve ever heard from these players in baroque repertoire.

The Irish Times, 8 April 2015

L’Incoronazione di Poppea – Academy of Ancient Music at The Barbican

Howarth’s lead from the harpsichord was consistently lively and dramatic.

Classical Source, 6 October 2014

Monteverdi’s score segues seamlessly between the venal and the venereal, an aspect handled with consummate subtlety in the fluently conducted performance under Robert Howarth.

London Evening Standard, 6 October 2014

… this richly sensory and sensual performance by the Academy of Ancient Music under the musical direction of Robert Howarth … Directing the instrumentalists of the Academy  of  Ancient Music, Robert Howarth … created a ceaseless flow of recitative,  arias, duets, trios and laments forming exciting contrasts. As Monteverdi’s formal arrangements constantly evolved, Howarth’s flexible control of tempo perfectly reflected the score’s changeability of mood and allowed for the ‘side-actions’ to be smoothly incorporated into the main plot.

Opera Today, 6 October 2014

 

Robert Howarth, […] radiates vitality as a conductor at the harpsichord and what he achieved is absolutely amazing. Anyone who hears it – and that’s what this evening is all about – can experience its wonders.

Neue Zuricher Zeitung, 19 May 2014

 

Director Willy Decker … and Robert Howarth have established nothing less than a triumph from the absolute darkness of the meagre source material, producing a world class performance for Zurich.

Oper Aktuell, 19 May 2014

 

Messiah – Kirsten Flagstad-festival

The best Hallelujiah chorus I have ever heard.

Hamar Daglbad, 18 June 2012

 

Giulio Cesare – Opera North

The orchestra, under the baton of Robert Howarth played with great verve and richness of colour

Opera Britannia, 14 January 2012

 

Alcina – St Gallen

The early music expert, Robert Howarth, conducts the Symphony Orchestra of St Gallen, who sound like they are playing on period instrument. Howarth’s tempi are fit and fresh, but never rushed, and they support the singers perfectly.

Neue, 29 March 2011


The symphony orchestra
plays wonderfully under the light and precise baton of Robert Howarth

Opera aktuell, 27 March 2011           

 

Monteverdi Vespers – Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

In a word: magnificent.

CD review in Music Web International, 01 April 2011    


Robert Howarth […] using ingenious blends of voices to achieve a shimmering, captivating choral sound that seems to float effortlessly through the psalms.

CD review in The Independent, 18 February 2011

A true miracle of music, stylish, knowledgeable, almost shocking.

Berliner Morgenpost, 2 May 2010

 

gallery

news

Howarth’s Gluck “polished, unfailingly stylish and elegant” – Opera Today

Critical acclaim for conductor Robert Howarth's interpretation of Gluck La Corona with Bampton Classical Opera : "From the harpsichord, Robert Howarth led the fourteen-strong CHROMA in a polished performance which made the most of Gluck’s diverse characterisation......

Robert Howarth’s Baroque Christmas online

Early music specialist Robert Howarth directs the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the final concert of their Autumn season. Celebrating with a programme of baroque seasonal works by Handel, JS Bach, Vivaldi and Corelli the concert also features soprano Anna Devin...

Robert Howarth to début digitally with Bournemouth SO

Conductor Robert Howarth will work with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra for the first time on December 16. Smaller in scale than the original work planned, the short Baroque Christmas programme will comprise seasonal works by Corelli, Handel, Vivaldi plus Bach. The...

Robert Howarth’s ‘inspiring’ Agrippina

"The Academy of Ancient Music played brilliantly for Robert Howarth – what an unassuming, devoted musician he is, and what glorious performances he inspires." MusicOMH. Walter Sutcliffe's production of Agrippina from the 2018 Grange Festival will be available to view...

Howarth celebrates music of a pushy parent

Conductor Robert Howarth works with the BBC Singers and The English Cornett & Sackbutt Ensemble directing a programme to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the birth of Leopold Mozart. Father of Wolfgang Amadeus and composer in his own right, the concert features...

Robert Howarth conducts Magic Flute for Opera North

Robert Howarth will conduct James Brining's new production of The Magic Flute for Opera North opening in Leeds on January 19, 2019 and touring to Salford and Newcastle until March 15.