Life and career
He joined the Sadler's Wells Theatre in 1968, and the Royal Opera House in 1970. He was also a regular guest at the English National Opera and the Welsh National Opera. His roles have included most of the major bass roles of the Verdi and Wagner repertories, such as: Miller, Sparafucile, Ferrando, Padre Guardiano, Phillip II, Landgrave, Hans Sachs, Gurnemanz, etc. In his seventies, he continues to sing small roles on stage: Simone in Gianni Schicchi at the Royal Opera House in 2009 and Schigolch in Lulu at the Metropolitan Opera in 2010.
Howell possesses a voice of mellow, well rounded timbre, which make him a natural in basso cantante roles, where his authority and quiet dignity provided many memorable performances. He can be heard in studio recordings, as Jero in L'assedio di Corinto, Count Walter in Luisa Miller, and as Capulet in a live recording of I Capuleti e i Montecchi, opposite Agnes Baltsa and Edita Gruberova, under Riccardo Muti, at Covent Garden, in 1984.
- Grove Music Online, Max Loppert, Oxford University Press, 2008.