Helen Watts

Biography

Born: December 7, 1927; Milford Haven, Wales   Died: October 7, 2009; Pembrokeshire  
Contralto Helen Watts was a leading member of that school of Welsh singers which came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s. Nurtured in a British Isles atmosphere that had turned from insularity to international performance, Watts became the leading British contralto (or mezzo-contralto) in the post-Kathleen Ferrier age. Though never wanting in artistic temperament, she was a model colleague, always well-prepared and ready to sing a fully Read more invested performance. Her voice, of medium size though firmly focused, had a plushness that often made it seem larger than its actual size. She began by specializing in Handel and Bach, but grew artistically to become an exemplary singer of Mahler and Wagner. Watts did not neglect the works of Britten and Tippett either, performing and recording them as a part of her exceptionally extensive discography.

Watts studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and made her debut as Didymus in Handel's Theodora in a production mounted by the Handel Opera Society. She followed those performances with both Juno and Ines in Semele. She also sang in Rinaldo, an opera which she repeated at Berlin's Komische Oper and at Halle in 1961. By the early 1960s, she had established a relationship with the English Opera Group and played an important part in performances of Britten's operas, assuming the title role in The Rape of Lucretia during the EOG's 1964 tour of Russia. She sang at Covent Garden from 1965 to 1971, offering her richly vocalized Erda and First Norn, portraying Mrs. Sedley in Britten's Peter Grimes, and offering a commanding Sosostris in a revival of Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage. At the Welsh National Opera, she also performed numerous roles suitable for a contralto, among them Sosostris, Mrs. Sedley, a delicious Dame Quickly, and Lanina. At Salzburg in 1971, she was well received as Farnace in Mozart's Mitridate, Re di Ponto and in 1978, she sang a moving Arnalta in Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea with the Scottish Opera.

However busy she may have seemed in the opera world, Watts was busier still in recital and concert work. Her initial performances in Handel led to a recording of Handel cantatas and then a flood of discs of wide-ranging repertory. She made numerous recordings of Bach, paralleling her live performances throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and America. Her years at Covent Garden coincided with the musical directorship of Georg Solti. Taken by her sumptuous voice and quality of musicianship, he employed her services for several recording projects and afforded her the international prominence she deserved. Aside from her First Norn in his Decca Götterdämmerung, he engaged her for his recordings of Mahler's Second, Third, and Eighth symphonies, all widely distributed and warmly praised. When Solti assumed the directorship of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, he brought Watts to Chicago for a series of memorable performances, including Mahler's Second Symphony and Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

Watts' Sosostris was recorded following the Tippett revival, the electronic medium greatly clarifying the composer's extremely thick orchestration and allowing her glorious singing to be heard. Watts was virtually on call to recording companies during her prime years, valued for her amazing consistency and unfussy approach to studio work. Her Angel in Elgar's Dream of Gerontius ranked with the best, and her interpretation of the contralto part in the Colin Davis recording of Handel's Messiah (including "But Who May Abide") is regarded by many as unsurpassed. Her recordings of Lieder were likewise exemplary, especially Brahms and Wolf. Read less
Handel: Sosarme / Lewis, Deller, Watts, Herbert
Release Date: 01/01/2012   Label: Andromeda  
Catalog: 5053   Number of Discs: 2
On sale!
CD: $8.99
In Stock
On sale!     CD:  $8.99 Add CD to Cart

Browse 51-75 of 131 Available Recordings
1 2 3 4 5 6
  • 51.
    Essential Choral Classics
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000691802 Release Date: 06/13/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joseph Brackett,  Gioachino Rossini,  Gustav Mahler,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Mirella Freni,  Lucia Valentini-Terrani,  Ruggero Raimondi,  Luciano Pavarotti  ... 
    Conductor:  Jerold Ottley,  Romano Gandolfi,  Sir Georg Solti,  George Guest  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mormon Tabernacle Choir,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Vienna Concert-Verein  ... 
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $11.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 52.
    Mahler: Symphony No 8 / Solti, Chicago Symphony, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000691902 Release Date: 06/13/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Heather Harper,  Yvonne Minton,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Vienna State Opera Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $12.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 53.
    Britten Conducts Britten Vol 3
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000639602 Release Date: 05/16/2006   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Bryan Drake,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Robert Tear,  Peter Pears  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  George Malcolm,  Norman Del Mar,  Russell Burgess
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Opera Group Orchestra,  English Chamber Group,  Alleyn's School Choir  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $59.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 54.
    Bach: Cantatas / Ameling, Baker, Sutherland
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 76936 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Dennis Clift,  Edward Selwyn,  Thomas Hemsley,  Wilfred Brown  ... 
    Conductor:  Geraint Jones,  Wolfgang Gönnenwein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Geraint Jones Orchestra,  Geraint Jones Singers,  Consortium Musicum  ... 
    On sale! $17.99
    CD: $9.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $17.99   CD:  $9.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 55.
    Gemini - Haydn: Masses / Wilhelm, Marriner, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86519 Release Date: 05/24/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn
    Performer:  Helen Watts,  Werner Keltsch,  Kurt Equiluz,  Siegmund Nimsgern  ... 
    Conductor:  Gerhard Wilhelm,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Instrumental Ensemble,  Stuttgart Hymnus Boys Choir,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $24.98
    CD: $19.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $24.98   CD:  $19.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 56.
    Original Masters - Leopold Stokowski Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000394902 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Young,  Donald McIntyre,  Heather Harper,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $35.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 57.
    Williams: The Dancers, Etc / Hickox, Harrhy, Watts, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9617 Release Date: 02/03/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Grace Williams
    Performer:  Caryl Thomas,  Eiddwen Harrhy,  John Heley,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Richard Hickox Singers,  City of London Sinfonia,  City of London Sinfonia members
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 58.
    Bach: Mass In B Minor / Somary, Palmer, Watts, Tear, Et Al
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1242 Release Date: 10/21/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer,  Helen Watts,  Robert Tear,  Michael Rippon
    Conductor:  Johannes Somary
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Amor Artis Chorale
    CD: $14.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $14.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 59.
    Hector Berlioz - Romantic Spirit
    Label: Universal   Catalog: 000044402 Release Date: 07/01/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Thomas Allen,  Robert Lloyd,  Christiane Eda-Pierre,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Claudio Abbado,  Charles Dutoit,  Pierre Monteux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir,  European Community Youth Orchestra  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 60.
    Handel: Messiah (Highlights) / Leppard, Et Al
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 48726 Release Date: 05/20/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ryland Davies,  Helen Watts,  Felicity Palmer,  John Shirley-Quirk
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra Choir
    On sale!
    CD: $7.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!     CD:  $7.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 61.
    Strauss: Elektra / Solti, Nilsson, Resnik, Collier, Krause
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417345 Release Date: 09/10/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Margarete Sjösted,  Tugomir Franc,  Birgit Nilsson,  Regina Resnik  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 62.
    Bach: Cantatas / Rilling, Amini, Auger, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94028 Release Date: 08/27/2002   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Philippe Huttenlocher,  Aldo Baldin,  Arleen Augér,  Gabriele Schreckenbach  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $39.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 63.
    Bach: Easter Cantatas / Rilling, Bach Ensemble
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94027 Release Date: 08/27/2002   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Philippe Huttenlocher,  Adalbert Kraus,  Julia Hamari,  Arleen Augér  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Frankfurt Kantorei  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $39.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 64.
    Mozart: Mitridate / Hager, Schreier, Moser, Auger, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1361 Release Date: 08/06/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Helen Watts,  Pilar Lorengar,  Peter Baillie  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Hager
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $15.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 65.
    Stravinsky: Ballets, Stage Works, Orchestral Works /Ansermet
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467818 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Monica Sinclair,  Kenneth MacDonald,  Joan Carlyle,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Geneva Motet Choir,  Lausanne Radio Chorus  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $47.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 66.
    Bach: Magnificat, Easter Oratorio / Munchinger
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 466420 Release Date: 05/08/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hanneke van Bork,  Werner Krenn,  Elly Ameling,  Tom Krause  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Münchinger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Academy Choir,  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 67.
    British Composers - Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem, Etc
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 574782 Release Date: 04/02/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Sheila Armstrong,  John Carol Case,  Peter Katin,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult,  Meredith Davies,  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  Ambrosian Ladies Chorus  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 68.
    Handel: Sosarme / Lewis, Deller, Watts, Herbert, Et Al
    Label: Opera D'oro   Catalog: 1319 Release Date: 10/30/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Ian Wallace,  Alfred Deller,  William Herbert,  Nancy Evans  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Lewis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Anthony Singers,  Santa Cecilia Chamber Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
    CD: $15.99
    Low Stock
    On sale!   $18.98   CD:  $15.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 69.
    Bach: St Matthew Passion / Klemperer, Pears, Ludwig, Et Al
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67542 Release Date: 04/10/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Otakar Kraus,  Sir Geraint Evans,  Helen Watts  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hampstead Parish Church Boys' Choir,  Philharmonia Chorus,  Philharmonia Orchestra
    Recommendation
    Low Stock
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $29.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 70.
    Monteverdi: L'incoronazione Di Poppea, 7 Madrigals
    Label: Emi Classics Double Fforte   Catalog: 73842 Release Date: 09/12/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
    Performer:  Gerald English,  Christopher Keyte,  April Cantelo,  Eileen Poulter  ... 
    Conductor:  Raymond Leppard,  John Pritchard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $11.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 71.
    Mozart: Coronation Mass K.317, Litaniae Lauretanae K.195, Etc.
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4674162 Release Date: 09/04/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Helen Watts,  Robert Tear  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  George Guest
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Schola Cantorum Oxford
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 72.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 50 - Cantatas Bwv 165-168 / Rilling
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92050 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Verena Gohl-Müller,  Nancy Burns,  Theo Altmeyer,  Siegmund Nimsgern  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Kantorei,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Stuttgart Gedächtniskirche Figuralchor  ... 
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 73.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 50 - Cantatas Bwv 165-168 / Rilling
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92050 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Arleen Augér,  Kurt Equiluz,  Wolfgang Schöne,  Alyce Rogers  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Frankfurt Kantorei,  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 74.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 52 - Cantatas Bwv 172-175 / Rilling
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92052 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Carolyn Watkinson,  Peter Schreier,  Philippe Huttenlocher,  Julia Hamari  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn  ... 
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 75.
    Edition Bachakademie Vol 56 - Cantatas Bwv 185-187 / Rilling
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 92056 Release Date: 07/25/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Hildegard Laurich,  Wolfgang Schöne,  Maria Friesenhausen,  Philippe Huttenlocher  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmuth Rilling
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart,  Stuttgart Bach Collegium,  Frankfurt Kantorei
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

1 2 3 4 5 6