A Scene from English National Opera's 1987 revival of Gildert & Sillivan's MIKADO starring Eric Idle as Ko-Ko and Ann Howard as Katisha.
We are very sad to have learned of the death of Ann Howard who sang major mezzo-soprano roles with ENO for more than 30 years. Ann, who was born in 1936, began her career as a principal boy in pantomime before joining the chorus of the then Covent Garden Opera Company where she also sang a number of principal roles. She made her debut with Sadler’s Wells Opera in 1964 as Czipra in Johann Strauss’s The Gypsy Baron going on to sing a wide variety of roles including Musetta La boheme and Jocasta Oedipus Rex. Once the Company has moved to the Coliseum in 1968 she was seen frequently in leading roles including the title role in John Copley’s new production of Carmen (the role which played a big part in establishing her international career including with New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera and San Diego), Fricka in the Goodall Ring and the title role in Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène.She sang Hélène Bezukhova in Prokofiev’s War and Peace when the Company appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and she caused a sensation as a leather-clad dominatrix Mescalina in the British premiere of Ligeti’s Grand Macabre. In later years she sang more character roles including Jezibaba Rusalka, Auntie Peter Grimes and Katisha The Mikado which she shared with Felicity Palmer in the initial run of Jonathan Miller’s legendary production in 1986 and with which she gave her final ENO performances in 1997. Eric Idle, the original Ko-Ko, enjoyed working with her so much he invited her to appear with him at the Royal Variety Performance in 1991 where she played Madama Butterfly to his Suzuki! comments powered by Disqus