Kathleen Howard

Kathleen Howard. Contralto, b Clifton (Niagara Falls), Ont, 17 Jul 1880, d Hollywood 15 Aug 1956. She was a child when her English parents emigrated to Buffalo, but she returned to Canada in 1903 to tour as soloist with the Coldstream Guards.

Howard, Kathleen

Kathleen Howard. Contralto, b Clifton (Niagara Falls), Ont, 17 Jul 1880, d Hollywood 15 Aug 1956. She was a child when her English parents emigrated to Buffalo, but she returned to Canada in 1903 to tour as soloist with the Coldstream Guards. In 1903-4 she supported Adelina Patti in that diva's farewell North American concerts, one of which was given at the Montreal Arena 12 Nov 1903. Following study in New York with Oscar Saenger, in Paris with Jacques Bouhy and Jean de Reszke, and in Berlin with Anna Schoen-René, she made her operatic debut in 1907 at Metz, France, as Azucena in Il Trovatore. Three seasons, 1909-12, in Darmstadt were followed by a summer, 1913, at Covent Garden and two winters, 1913-15, with New York's Century Opera. Following her Metropolitan Opera debut 20 Nov 1916 as Third Lady in The Magic Flute, she became that company's most popular character contralto. Her 12 seasons included appearances as Zita in the world premiere of Gianni Schicchi (19l8, with Florence Easton) and Geneviève in the Metropolitan premiere of Pelléas et Mélisande (1925, with Edward Johnson). Apart from a single Edison Diamond Disc of 1916, she recorded exclusively 1917-19 for Pathé, her 30-odd discs including duets with Claudia Muzio and Paul Althouse. A list of her recordings appears in Roll Back the Years. After her retirement in 1928, Howard was active as a journalist and a motion picture character actress. She appeared in several films including Death Takes a Holiday (1934), and played the wife of W.C. Fields in films such as It's a Gift (1934) and The Man on the Flying Trapeze (1935).

Writings

Confessions of an Opera Singer (New York 1918)


Further Reading

  • McLean, Eric. "Grand Tradition: great Canadian musical figures of the past: Kathleen Howard," Opera Canada, Spring 1995