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.