Born Surrey, 20 June 1937.
Stafford Dean had a notable international career, particularly singing Mozart roles in the world's major houses. However his repertoire was far more varied than that suggests. He had a lengthy association with Scottish Opera, as well as with ENO and Glyndebourne.
He studied at the Royal College of Music under Gordon Clinton, and continued to work privately with Howell Glynne and Otakar Kraus. He joined Sadler's Wells in 1964, remaining with the company for the next six years, singing a variety of bass roles in London and on tour. His debut was as Zuniga, and he soon added Colline, Truffaldino, Leporello, Sarastro, Sparafucile, Rocco, Padre Guardiano, Daland, and Pluto in Monteverdi's Orfeo. In 1967 he created the role of Samuel Breze in A Penny for a Song by Richard Rodney Bennett. During this period, roles at Glyndebourne included the Magistrate in Werther and Rochefort in Anna Bolena.
His debut at Covent Garden came in 1969, as Masetto, followed by the He-Ancient in The Midsummer Marriage. Major roles he sang at the Royal Opera House in later seasons included Narbal in The Trojans, Leporello, Figaro, Don Alfonso, Rangoni, Gessler in Guillaume Tell, Bottom, and Alfonso d'Este in Lucrezia Borgia (with Joan Sutherland). In 1987 he sang the Prime Minister in the British première of The King Goes Forth to France by Aulis Sallinen. He also sang Don Alfonso at Glyndebourne and Don Pedro in Beatrice and Benedict at ENO. Roles with Welsh National included Sarastro and a notable performance as Philip II in Don Carlos.
His debut with Scottish Opera came in 1970, as Leporello, and he appeared with the company frequently over the next thirty years, in a wide range of parts by a varied list of composers including Monteverdi, Mozart, Beethoven, Donizetti, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák and Strauss. He created the double role of Cardinal Beaton and David Riccio in Mary, Queen of Scots by Thea Musgrave in 1977, and he also created the King of Portugal in Inés de Castro by MacMillan in 1996.
His international work began in 1971 with performances of Leporello in Stuttgart, then at the Munich Festival, both in stagings by Gunther Rennert. He soon afterwards sang in Hamburg, Berlin. Prague and Bordeaux. His career developed rapidly with appearances in most of the major houses, particularly in the roles of Figaro and Leporello, which he sang in Cologne, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam, Vienna, Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris and Aix-en-Provence. He also sang Figaro in Chicago (1975) and at the New York Met (1976).
His recordings include Abednego in Britten's own recording of The Burning Fiery Furnace. He also recorded Rochefort in Anna Bolena, Pluto in Il ballo delle ingrate, Trulove in The Rake's Progress, Tiresias in Oedipus Rex, the Dark Fiddler in A Village Romeo and Juliet and Pirro in I Lombardi. While Inés de Castro was televised by the BBC, the tape has never been made available commercially. The same applies to a TV showing of the Covent Garden Lucrezia Borgia in 1980.
Revised 7 April 2012. [From the Opera Scotland website]
-- Names which are links anywhere on this page refer to my interviews elsewhere on this website. BD
Howells made two notable debuts as a mezzo-soprano while still
in her mid-20s: as Erisbe in Cavalli’s L’Ormindo at Glyndebourne, and as
Flora in the Visconti/Guilini Traviata
at the Royal Opera House. She continued to sing regularly at both of
these houses throughout a career which took her to almost every major
opera house and concert hall in the world. These include the
Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Opera
houses of both San Francisco and Los Angeles, the four Parisian opera
houses, the Grand Opera of Geneva, the Salzburger Festspiele, the
Vienna Staatsoper, the Carnegie Hall and the Musikverein of Vienna.
Directors with whom she worked include Peter Hall, Nicholas Hytner, John Schlesinger, Jean-Pierre Ponelle, Gunther Rennert and John Copley. Conductors included Colin Davis, James Levine, Georg Solti, Silvio Varviso and Andre Previn.
She is especially noted for her portrayals of Mozart’s Dorabella in Così fan tutte (Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Chicago, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne), Melisande (Scottish Opera, Royal Opera House), Conception in Ravel’s L’Heure Espagnole (Amsterdam and Opera Comique, Paris) and Octavian – she sings the title role on the Solti/Schlesinger DVD of Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier by the Royal Opera. Other roles at the Royal Opera have included Giulietta in Tales of Hoffman, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Despina as well as Dorabella, and Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro.
She accompanied the Royal Opera on three tours: As Ascanius in Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini and Annius in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at La Scala Milan, and Despina in Così fan tutte in Japan. She sang Helen in Tippett’s King Priam in the Royal Opera’s tour to the Herod Atticus Theatre in Athens.
Anne also took part in many other contemporary operas: Cathleen in Nicholas Maw’s Rising of The Moon at Glyndebourne, at the Royal Opera as Lena in Richard Rodney Bennett’s Victory, Ophelia in Searle’s Hamlet, Thea in Michael Tippett’s Knot Garden, and Lady de Hautdesert in Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain and the Green Knight.
[From the Royal Academy of Music website]
Stafford Dean and Anne Howells at Lyric Opera of Chicago
1972 - Così fan tutte (Howells as Dorabella) with Price, Davies, Krause, Evans, Koszut; Dohnányi, Ponnelle
1975 - Marriage of Figaro (Dean as Figaro) with Price, Malfitano, Stewart, Ewing, Voketaitis, Andreolli; Pritchard, Ponnelle
1980 - Don Giovanni (Dean as Leporello) with Stilwell/Morris, Tomowa-Sintow, Neblett, Winkler, Buchanan, Macurdy; Pritchard, Ponnelle
Italian Earthquake Relief Benefit Concert (Both Dean and Howells sang) with (among others) Battle, Scotto, Pavarotti, Troyanos,
Buchanan, Neblett, Hayashi, Macurdy, Payne, Nucci, Tomowa-Sintow, Voketaitis, Winkler; Favario, Pritchard
1982 - Così fan tutte (Howells as Dorabella) with Yakar, Winbergh/Negrini, Stilwell, Trimarchi, Hynes; Rudel/Schaenen, Sciutti
1989-90 - Fledermaus (Howells as Orlovsky) with Daniels, Bonney, Rosenshein/Lopez-Yanez, Allen/Otey, Nolen,
Adams; Rudel, Chazalettes, Tallchief
|Mozart (also) supervised the
Vienna premiere of the work, which took place on 7 May 1788. For this
production, he wrote two new arias with corresponding recitatives – Don
Ottavio's aria "Dalla sua pace" (K. 540a, composed on April 24 for the
tenor Francesco Morella), Elvira's aria "In quali eccessi ... Mi
tradì quell'alma ingrata" (K. 540c, composed on April 30 for the
soprano Caterina Cavalieri) – and the duet between Leporello and
Zerlina "Per queste tue manine" (K. 540b, composed on 28 April).
The opera's final ensemble was generally omitted until the early-20th century, and does not appear in the Viennese libretto of 1788. Mozart also made a shortened version of the operatic score. Nonetheless, the final ensemble is almost invariably performed in full today.
Another modern approach occasionally encountered is to cut Don Ottavio's most celebrated aria, "Il mio tesoro", in favor of the less demanding "Dalla sua pace", which replaced it in the Viennese premiere in order to suit the tenor Francesco Morella. Most modern productions find a place for both tenor arias, however. In addition, the duet, "Per queste tue manine" and the whole accompanying scene involving Zerlina and Leporello, composed specifically for the Viennese premiere, is usually cut from productions of the opera, although the other Viennese addition, Elvira's "In quali eccessi, o Numi... Mi tradi per l'alma ingrata" is usually retained.
© 1980 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded at the studios of WNIB, Chicago on December 2, 1980. Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 1997. A copy of the unedited audio was given to the Archive of Contemporary Music at Northwestern University. This transcription was made in 2014, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.