ARTISTS

John Tomlinson

John
Tomlinson
baritone

Born in Lancashire, John Tomlinson studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music and with Otakar Kraus.

He sings regularly with The Royal Opera and English National Opera and has with all the major British opera companies. He appeared at the Bayreuth Festival for eighteen consecutive seasons from 1988, as Wotan, the Wanderer, King Marke, Titurel, Gurnemanz, Hagen and Holländer. He has also appeared in Berlin (Deutsche Oper Berlin and Berlin Staatsoper), Geneva, Lisbon, Stuttgart, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, Pittsburgh, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Vienna, Bologna, Florence, Tokyo and the Glyndebourne, Orange, Aix-en-Provence, Munich and Salzburg festivals. His repertory includes Hans Sachs, Heinrich der Vogler, Baron Ochs, Leporello, Claggart, King Fisher, Méphistophélès (Gounod's Faust), the Villains (Contes d'Hoffmann), King Philip (Don Carlos) and the title roles in Oberto (which he also directed), Attila, Mosè in Egitto, Le nozze di Figaro, Boris Godunov, Moses und Aron and Duke Bluebeard's Castle.

In 1993, he won a Grammy Award for Bartok's Cantata Profana and in February 2007 he was honoured with the Special Award at the Laurence Olivier Award Ceremony. He was awarded a CBE in 1997 and Knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 2005.

Image Credit: 

Marie Angel

Marie
Angel
soprano

Marie Angel is one of today’s most thrilling dramatic sopranos. Born in Pinnaroo, South Australia, Marie trained at the Adelaide Conservatorium with Donald Munro. She is known for the versatility of her voice, her stage presence and her extraordinary ability to move audiences.

As a soprano, as well as having performed operas in the classical repertoire she is also known through contemporary classical composers including Mauricio Kagel, Bruno Maderna, Michael Tippett, Harrison Birtwistle, Philip Glass, Louis Andriessen, Michael Nyman, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, and John Cage. She has appeared in films by Peter Greenaway and has participated in the recording of the opera Facing Goya, by Michael Nyman. She has also performed with the Michael Nyman Band as a vocalist at some of his concerts.

Marie's career highlights include revolutionary work as a founder member of the Opera Factory, in London and Zurich, singing the roles of Poppea (Monteverdi), Iphigenia (Gluck), Fiordiligi, Donna Anna, the Contessa Almaviva, and Pretty Polly (Birtwistle); the latter leading to her collaborating with Sir Kenneth MacMillan (Seven Deadly Sins). Seeking further challenges she created the roles of Morgan le Fay in Birtwistle’s Gawain (ROH), Esmeralda in Rosa (Greenaway and Andriessen, Netherlands Opera), Ingrid in Esmee (Lovendier, Holland Festival), Cixi in Hotel de Pekin (Jeffs, Nationale Reisoper) and Soprano 2 (Facing Goya, Nyman).

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Anne Howells

Anne
Howells
mezzo-soprano

Anne 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 Salburger 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 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.

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RAM

Francois Le Roux

Francois
Le Roux
baritone

François Le Roux began his vocal studies with François Loup at the age of 19, later studying under Vera Rosza and Elisabeth Grümmer at the Opéra Studio, Paris; he has won international competitions in Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro. He was a member of the Lyon Opera Company from 1980-985, since when he has been a guest artist at all major European opera houses and festivals.

His wide repertoire covers the Mozart baritone roles, and a range from the Italian repertoire (Figaro, Dandini, Malatesta, Marcello) to Baroque opera - including the title roles in Monteverdi’s Orfeo and Ulisse, Campra's Tancrède, and Rameau's Castor et Pollux (Pollux) at the Aix en Provence Festival. He has also appeared in contemporary opera, notably as Henze's Der Prinz von Homburg in Munich conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, and has taken the title roles in world premieres of Birtwistle's Gawain at Covent Garden, Von Bose's Die Leiden des jungen Werthers at the Schwetzingen Festival and Georges Boeuf’s Verlaine Paul in Nancy and Marseille.

In addition to numerous operatic recordings for EMI, Erato, and BMG-RCA, Le Roux has released several highly acclaimed discs of the French song repertoire for EMI, REM, Hyperion and DECCA-Universal.

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Howarth, Elgar

Elgar
Howarth
Conductor

Elgar Howarth (b. 1935) studied music at Manchester University and the Royal Manchester College of Music, where his first study was composition. His conducting career began in the early 1970s and since then he has appeared regularly with all the leading British orchestras both in the concert hall and in the recording studio.
 
His operatic achievements cover a wide repertoire and include the world premiere of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre at the Stockholm Royal Opera, followed by productions of the same work in Hamburg, Paris and London. In 1985 he made his debut at Covent Garden with King Priam which he later performed with the same company at the Athens Festival. For Glyndebourne he has conducted The Barber of Seville, Falstaff, Nigel Osborne's The Electrification of the Soviet Union and Birtwistle's The Second Mrs Kong and The Last Supper. He conducted the world premiere of Birtwistle's Gawain at Covent Garden in May 1991 and the revivals in 1994 and 2000.

In addition to conducting English Northern Philharmonia from 1985-1989 he appears frequently with the sister company, Opera North (where he was music advisor from 1996-99).

He retains an interest in composing especially, as a former trumpet player, for brass instruments. His works are much recorded, particularly on Decca.

MEDIA

Gawain
Disc 1
Disc 2
  • CD £19.99
  • MP3 £15.99
  • FLAC £16.99
  • Total duration: 136'19

DESCRIPTION

Artists include
 

Marie Angel soprano  Morgan le Fay
Anne Howells mezzo soprano  Lady de Hautdesert
Francois Le Roux baritone Gawain
John Tomlinson bass baritone The Green Knight / Bertilak de Hautdesert
Penelope Walmsley-Clark soprano Guinevere
Richard Greager tenor Arthur
Omar Ebrahim baritone The Fool
Alan Ewing bass Agravain
John Marsden tenor Ywain
Kevin Smith countertenor Bishop Baldwin
 

The Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Elgar Howarth conductor

Birtwistle's fascination with myth and ritual has influenced many of his works and this opera, its libretto by David Harsent, is based on the Arthurian legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, with a plot featuring castles, eerie nocturnal apparitions, evil magical powers, amorous entanglements and a singing decapitated head.

This production of Gawain for the Royal Opera House, recorded by BBC Radio 3, was supported by the Arts Council of England, The Friends of Covent Garden, The John S Cohen Foundation and The Po-Shing Woo Charitable Foundation. It was originally released on Collins Classics.
 

 

REVIEWS

GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER 1996 (Originally released on Collins Classics)

'Howarth and his fine cast (John Tomlinson, Francois Le Roux, Marie Angel) provide a definitive experience.' The Financial Times

‘John Tomlinson as the Green Knight has peerless authority and you can hear his every word’ Gramophone

‘Tomlinson’s emotionally charged, rich-toned account is a tour de force. The opera’s final climax is truly terrifying’ Opera Now

‘The orchestral playing catches both the dark fatalistic quality of the score and its moments of beauty’ BBC Music Magazine

FUNDING

Thanks to the trusts and foundations that have supported this release as part of NMC’s Anniversary Opera Series:

The John S Cohen Foundation
The Finzi Trust
The Nicholas John Trust
The Monument Trust
The N Smith Charitable Settlement
Surrey Square Trust
Anonymous

and to the donors who contributed through NMC’s 25th anniversary Opera Appeal including:

Jonathan Goldstein
Paul Henderson
Martyn Leighton
Robert McFarland
John Summerscales
Moya & John Tomlinson
Anonymous

Produced in association with BBC Radio 3

RECORDING CREDITS

This recording of the revised production of Gawain contains the shortened version of the Turning of the Seasons section and was recorded live by BBC Radio 3 on 20 April 1994 at the performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It was originally released on Collins Classics.

DAVID GALLAGHER Producer for BBC Radio 3
MARTIN PAGE Sound Balance for BBC Radio 3
JOHN TIMPERLEY Remixed for Collins Classics
VERONICA SLATER Producer for Collins Classics

COLIN MATTHEWS Executive Producer for NMC
FRANCOIS HALL Cover Image & Graphic design

(P) 1996 BBC
© 2014 NMC Recordings Ltd

 

Publisher:
Universal Edition
Catalogue number:
NMC D200
Release Date:
19 May 2014