Pacific Opera Victoria
Emile de Becque in South Pacific
Jason Howard has appeared with Pacific Opera Victoria in the title roles of The Barber of Seville (2000) and Eugene Onegin (2005). We welcome him back as Emile de Becque, a role he performed to critical accliam in the Lincoln Center Theater production of the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.
Raised in the rich singing tradition of South Wales, Jason Howard is now recognized as one of the UK's leading performers on the international operatic stage. Upon leaving his first career as a fireman, he took up studies at Trinity College of Music and the Royal College of Music with John Wakefield and Norman Bailey respectively, and commenced his career at Scottish Opera, subsequently singing with all of the major United Kingdom opera companies and orchestras. Since then, Mr. Howard has sung to critical acclaim throughout Europe and North America, in addition to his many UK engagements.
Engagements during the 2013-14 season include the title role in New Zealand Opera's Der Fliegende Holländer and Opera Tampa's Popera and Carmen.
In addition to Mr. Howard's successful German debut at the Frankfurt Opera, the 2012-13 season included the title role in Saint-Saëns' Henry VIII with the Bard Music Festival, which the New York Arts called a "truly memorable performance," as well as title roles with the Minnesota Opera and Opera Hamilton.
Mr. Howard has long been known as an outstanding performer of French and Italian repertoire. His celebrated Verdi roles have included those in Attila, La traviata, Don Carlos, Rigoletto, Macbeth, Nabucco and Il trovatore. Other highlights include his debuts at the Royal Opera House and Paris Opera as Marcello in La Bohème and his debut at Chicago Lyric Opera as Adam Brant in Mourning Becomes Electra.
Success as Wotan in David McVicars' critically-acclaimed production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg quickly established Mr. Howard as a leading exponent of the German heroic repertoire. A music critic described him as “the Wotan of his generation” after his debut in Die Walküre.
Other highlights in recent years have included his debut in the South American première of Britten's Death in Venice at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, and the roles of Prospero in Thomas Ades' The Tempest and Tonio and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci for Welsh National Opera. In the winter of 2009, years after Mr. Howard's performances of Ravenal in Showboat, he finally returned to the musical stage with performances of Emile de Beque in the Lincoln Center Theater production of South Pacific.
Jason's early recordings include The Student Prince, A Song of Norway, A Little Night Music, Showboat, Calamity Jane, and The King and I for TER. He also sang Dr Malatesta in a recording of Don Pasquale for Chandos, which was followed by Mephisto in a recording of Boulanger's Faust et Hélène. More recently, he released on Silva Screen Records Make Believe, The Hollywood Baritones – a solo album of songs from the classic Hollywood musicals made famous by two early singing heroes, Howard Keel and Gordon MacRae.
Jason Howard ... 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 Toronto Sun
Jason Howard is truly commanding as Emile de Becque and his Operatic background elevates these iconic songs to another level.
Glenn Meads, Whatsonstage.com
Bringing originality to a much-loved role is difficult, but Howard is able to give the desperate Frenchman who gives up on life new perspective in a multi-layered interpretation. And that voice! Full and ringing and subtle and powerful all at once, this is a voice that should not be missed. It is beautiful.
The Post-Crescent, Appleton, Wisconsin
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".
The Toronto Star
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... Howard's singing is as rich, warm and sweet as the stuff you pour on flapjacks.
The Dallas Observer