THE 1955 VOCAL COMPETITION
For the 1955 edition of the Benelux Vocal Competition, the second one in all, the organizing board took some previously made recommendations by the press and the jury to heart. The competition was renamed into International Vocal Competition (IVC), and the maximum admission age was limited to 34 years. The new Jury had only two Dutch members, and the most noticeable persons there were the renowned vocal coaches Nadia Boulanger (FR) and Roy Henderson (UK), the teacher of contralto Kathleen Ferrier.
The 64 participants that had registered for the 1955 competition were considered a slightly disappointing number compared to the 72 of the first competition. They were, however, considered to be 'of better average quality' than the competitors in the previous edition, although – allegedly – 'no exceptional talents were discovered' in comparison to the likes of soprano Annette de la Bije and baritone Hans Wilbrink in the first edition. With Eva Bornemann (1st Kathleen Ferrier prize) and Arjan Blanken (2nd Jacques Urlus Prize) emerging from the second edition of the competition, this is hard to uphold. Eva Bornemann had a significant international oratorio career, and Blanken was a renowned Dutch lyric tenor with a significant career in the Netherlands. Some of their recordings can be seen in the slide show provided above (Schütz & Nono for Bornemann, Bach and Händel for Blanken).