1976 THE WINNERS
|Great Den Bosch Prize||An award for the best singer in the competition, who gets to perform in a KRO television concert.|
|1st prize||ƒ 2.500, the medal of Muziekstad Den Bosch, a diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra, broadcast by KRO Radio|
|2nd prize||ƒ 1.000, Honorary diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra, broadcast by KRO Radio|
|Prize Counter Tenor||Should one or more counter tenors participate, the Jury can award them with a special prize|
|Honorary mentioning||For those participants who did not win a First or Second Prize, but who managed to distinguish themselves nonetheless|
|KRO Broadcasting Corporation Prize||KRO Broadcasting Corporation offers each First Prize winner a radio concert|
|NCRV Broadcasting Corporation Prize||NCRV Broadcasting Corporation selects their own pick of candidates to appear in NCRV’s TV Opera-Operette Competition 1967/77|
|VARA Broadcasting Corporation Prize||VARA Broadcasting Corporation selects their own pick of finalists to appear in a VARA Radio broadcast.|
|Prize ‘BUMA Foundation’||ƒ 500 for the best performance of a modern Dutch composition|
|Young Talent prize ‘Toonkunst’||ƒ 1.250 Study allowance for a Dutch singer who shows promise at any point in the competition and who is not among the winners.|
|Friends of Song Prize||Five concert recitals with this Foundation, for a singer with special talent for the song repertoire.|
|Honorary diploma||All finalists receive a Honorary diploma|
|GRAND PRIZE OF THE CITY DEN BOSCH|
|AALTJE NOORDEWIER REDDINGIUS PRIZE|
|1st prize||Mitsuko Shirai||Soprano||JPN|
|2nd prize||Dinah Harris||Soprano||UK|
|KATHLEEN FERRIER PRIZE|
|1st prize||Not awarded|
|2nd prize||Michaela Agachi||Mezzo-soprano||RO|
|1st prize||Not awarded|
|2nd prize||Drew Minter||Countertenor||USA|
|JACQUES URLUS PRIZE|
|1st prize||Not awarded|
|1st prize||Frieder Lang||Tenor||GE|
|JOS ORELIO PRIZE|
|“TOONKUNST” ENCOURAGEMENT PRIZE|
|FRIENDS OF SONG PRIZE|
|BUMA FOUNDATION PRIZE|
|VARA RADIO BROADCASTING PRIZE|
|KRO RADIO BROADCASTING PRIZE|
|NCRV RADIO ENGAGEMENT PRIZE|
FIRST PRIZE WINNERS
‘Mitsuko Shirai’ sang the first aria from Mozart’s motet ‘Exultate jubilate’ with colorful tones, a Mörike song by Wolf and ‘Die Nachtigall’ by Berg with similar ripe balance between technique and artistry.’ (Jules Cuypers, ‘Japanse sopraan won Vocalistenconcours,’ De Telegraaf, September 6, 1976)
‘On the wings of her excellent accompanist Hartmut Höll, the Japanese songbird Mitsuko Shirai became the rightful winner of the only First Prize as well as of the Great Prize of the City of Den Bosch. Her singing was sensitive, ripe, intelligent, and musical.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Japanse schittert,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 6, 1976)
‘Accompanied by the eminent pianist Harmut Höll, Great Prize Winner Mitsuko Shirai treated the audience to two sublime renditions of Lieder by Hugo Wolf. She sung these with a disarming purity and complete surrender, proving that she fully merited her prizes. Later on, in an aria by Bach, she showed the same purity of voice, and a deep knowledge of what she was singing, providing the utmost satisfaction to the audience. ’ (Chris de Jong-Stolle, ‘Tam slotconcert,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 8, 1976)
Born and raised in Japan, soprano/mezzo-soprano Mitsuko Shirai (1952, Nagano) studied in Stuttgart, where she came into contact with fellow student and pianist Hartmut Höll. Shirai and Höll teamed up as a duo and shortly thereafter, in marriage. Of their engagement or friends from Bach-Cantatas wrote:
‘Höll was a student activist and as a pianist tended to disdain singers as being large people who made a lot of noise. However, he met the diminutive Shirai, who was born in Japan but had quickly mastered excellent German, and found her not only svelte but intelligent: they began conversing about Albert Camus's Myth of Sisyphus, and the conversation is still going on.’
Between 1973 and 1976 Shirai won First Prizes at the Gesangsconcours von Wien, then in Zwickau, 's- Hertogenbosch, Athens and Munich. Since 1973 she gives recitals in Europe, Scandinavia, Israel, Africa, Japan, South America, Russia, the USA and Canada. Het triumph in ‘duet’ with Hartmut Höll at the 23d IVC 1976 therefore was no great surprise, given that together with this pianist, she has set standards in performing song from the start of her career until decades there after.
Hugo Wolf: ‘Die Bekehrte’
Mitsuko Shirai (soprano), Hartmut Höll (piano), International Vocal Competition Den Bosch Closing Concert, September 8, 1976.
Equally successful she was with orchestral concerts as a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique Paris, the Academy of St Martin-in -the-Fields , the Boston Symphony Orchestra and many others committed by conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Charles Dutoit, Peter Eötvös, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Eliahu Inbal, Sir Neville Marriner, Günter Neuhold, Seiji Ozawa, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.
Berlioz's ‘Nuits d' été’ or Mahler's ‘Symphonies II & IV’ and belong to her core repertoire, along with Berg's ‘Sieben frühe Lieder.’ In addition, she is a renowned specialist in various Passions, and even in Julian Carillos quartertone ‘Preludio a Colon.’ In Tokyo, Shirai sang the soprano part in Mahler's ‘Symphony Nr. VIII,’ in Brussels she took over the contralto part in Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky. With Ravel's ‘Shéhérazade’ she made her debut at New York's Carnegie Hall. Other specialties in her repertoire are rarities like Hindemith’s first version of the Marienleben, Malipiero's ‘Le Stagioni Italiche,’ Ernst Křenek’s ‘Gesänge des späten Jahres,’ and the songs of Anton Webern. A legendary project on Schubert's ‘Winterreise’ was realized with Peter Härtling, Tabea Zimmermann and Hartmut Höll.
Hendrik Andriessen: ‘Miroir de peine’ (1923)
Mitsuko Shirai (soprano), Dutch Radio Orchestra - Janos Ferencsik (conductor), LP IVC 25-Jaar
In the field of opera Mitsuko Shirai was cast in performances of Mozart's Lucio Silla, Wagner's Das Liebesverbot, Paul Dukas’ Ariane et Barbe -Bleue, Berlioz' La damnation de Faust, and Hugo Wolf’s Der Corregidor. In Frankfurt she was Gary Bertini’s Despina in Così fan tutte.
Mozart: Così fan tutte ‘Una donna a quindice anni’
Mitsuko Shirai (Despina), Staatsoper Frankfurt – Garry Bertini (conductor), 1987.
Mitsuko Shirai is one of the most frequently recorded Lieder singers of modern times, and she received numerous international awards for her recordings. The Capriccio label released songs by Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, Schubert, Liszt, Wolf, Berg, Schönberg, Hölderlin settings, Mahler, Strauss, Robert Franz, Anton Webern, Mahler’s ‘Symphony IV;’ MDG released songs of Burgsmüller and Spohr, Bayer Records released her songs by Lili Boulanger and Karl Michael Komma; Claves released Othmar Schoeck's Möricke cycle ‘Das holde Bescheiden,’ which she recorded together with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Together with violist Tabea Zimmermann, Shirai and Höll produced for Capriccio a highly acclaimed trio album with song works by Strauss, Brahms, Bush, Loeffler, Marx, Reutter and Gounod; Shirai’s recording of Schubert's ‘Winterreise’ ranks as one the finest recordings of the cycle. Other orchestral works published on CD. EMI released orchestral works with Shirai as a soloist by Schumann and Mendelssohn; Philips released such works by Spohr and Mozart. In addition there are a good number of broadcast recordings extant, among them Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Frankfurt, 1987), Mendelssohn’s ‘Symphony Nr. 2’ (Berlin 1987), and a television broadcast of an all-Japanese song recital from Tokyo, 2012.
Among her countless awards, the most special ones were perhaps the Great Idemitsu Music Award 1996, and the Japanese Emperor ‘Medal of Merit at the violet band’ award, which she received in 2008 for her services to the German song repertoire. This prestigious award for art and science was awarded to only five of musicians in the last 50 years. In 2009 she received the German Federal Cross of Merit. In 2006 Shirai was hospitalized after she was diagnosed with the muscle disease Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). After many months in hospitals and rehabilitation she celebrated her comeback in April 2008 with a Schubert program at ‘Folle Journée’ in Nantes. Concerts in Japan, Germany and Israel followed.
As a professor in Karlsruhe, Mitsuko Shirai passes her knowledge on interpreting song on to the next generations, together with Hartmut Höll. She is also a guest professor in Salzburg. Master classes in song together with Höll she gave in Finland, Weimar, Schleswig-Holstein, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, and in the USA (CCM Cincinnati, Tanglewood), as well as in Jerusalem. She is a regular a juror at major international singing competitions such as the International Hugo Wolf competition Stuttgart, the Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau the International ARD Competition in Munich, and the International Competition for art song Stuttgart)
SECOND PRIZE WINNERS
‘Among the Second Prize winners, Mihaela Agachi was the best and she wholly deserved her Second prize. Even though opera was her weapon of choice, she still excelled in a beautifully sung Rachmaninoff song. ’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Japanse schittert,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 6, 1976)
‘Very convincing this evening was the only opera singer, the Romanian Mihaela Agachi. Her arias met with justified success. Especially the last one from Massenet’s Werther, proved her oustanding qualities.’ (Chris de Jong-Stolle, ‘Tam slotconcert,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 8, 1976)
Mihaela Agachi was born in Iași, 1951. By 1976 she graduated from the Georges Enescu Conservatory there, where she studied with professor Ella Urmă. The Romanian Opera in Iași contracted her as a soloist, where she debuted as Suzuki in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Subsequently she embarked on the usual tour of vocal competitions in Europe, winning Third Prize in Athens, and a prestigious Second prize at the 1976 IVC Den Bosch, where she was praised for the rich colors in her voice, which, together with ample volume, were the weapons she would onwards forge her career with. The sheer beauty of her voice is already apparent from that winning IVC Gala Concert performance as Charlotte:
Massenet: Werher ‘Air des lettres’
Mihaela Agachi (Charlotte), Brabants Orkest – André Rieu Sr. (conductor), IVC Gala Concert, House of province, Den Bosch, September 8, 1976
From there onwards she quickly established herself in Iași, where she made many role debuts, among them Amneris in Verdi’s Aida, Bizet’s Carmen, the title role in Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila, and Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia (in the original mezzo version), Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto. By 1982, Agachi was promoted to the Romanian Opera in Bucharest, where she added, among others, Cherubino in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Lola in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana to her reprtoire. Agachi also sang many guest performances abroad, at festivals, opera houses and in concert. She presented Lieder recitals in Berlin ‘Berolina’ Festival, in Greece and the Philippines. She also appeared in The Netherlands, in a number of radio broadcast that by now fitted in a veritable ‘tradition’ by first KRO Radio and television, later also VARA RTV, recently followed by NCRV RTV, of inviting Romanian IVC Winners. From the Philippines, we have a wonderful review on Agachi’s performances there:
‘Colorful and delightful: Beauteous, youthful and dramatically competent, Mihaela Agachi interpreted some eight arias […] giving us the impression that Carmen was her signature role for the evening […] her mezzo soprano voice came of unstrained and unforced, so florid and fluid as golden honey, so palpable and clear as ice at times.’ (Vilma R. Santiago Felipe, ‘Final concert with Mihaela Agachi,’ Bulletin Today, Manila)
Verdi: Il trovatore ‘Stride la vampa’
Mihaela Agachi (Azucena), The Romanian Army Choir – Sergiu Eremia (conductor)(LP Electrecord ‘Famous Opera Choruses’, 1982)
Mihaela Agachi recorded various LP’s for Electrecord, among them Suzuki in their complete recording of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (with IVC 1969 finalist Emile Gherman, 1971 Donorary Diploma winner Noble Mircea Moisa, and IVC 1972 Prize Winner Eduard Tumageanian), and two recital discs, one with songs by Brahms, Wolf, Debussy, Duparc, Richard Strauss and Fauré, and another with aria’s from Samson et Dalila, Cavalleria rusticana, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Carmen, Don Carlo, Aida, Maid of Orléans . In addition, she participated in various Electrecord compilations of duets, scenes and arias, among others with Nicolae Herlea.
‘Harris was a conquering soubrette in the Adèle aria from Die Fledermaus . She had the audience at her feet with a Satie song in pseudo-cabaret style, which she sang with impeccable intonation in the proper idiom.’ (Jules Cuypers, ‘Japanse sopraan won Vocalistenconcours,’ De Telegraaf, September 6, 1976)
‘Dinah Harris excelled in Purcell, was jolly good in Satie and rendered a wicked Adèle from Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus . In fact, she literally brought al the ‘Unschuld vom lande’ on stage in such a risqué and charming way, that she enchanted the audience. The Jury mostly marveled over her repertoire of choice, song, whereas they were wholly convinced of her abilities as a soubrette in the world of the musical theatre.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Japanse schittert,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 6, 1976)
English soprano Dinah Harris studied at the RCM. This was followed by further study in London with Dame Isobel Baillie and in Vienna with Rita Streich, as the result of a scholarship from the Royal Society of Arts. Her many operatic engagements were with leading UK opera houses lasted from 1971 until 1990. She has also appeared as a principal soloist in France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She broadcast extensively on radio, both in the UK with the BBC and in Europe, and she has been a recording artist on the EMI and Erato labels.
Purcell: The Indian Queen Purcell: The Indian Queen
Dinah Harris (soprano), English Baroque Soloists – John Eliot Gardiner (conductor), Henry Wood Hall, London, 1979.
Since 1990 she has been a full time singing teacher and voice coach, both privately and at University Hospital Lewisham where she was a member of the Voice Clinic Team until 2010. She has given many workshops and was on the faculty at the 1993 and 1998 Pan Pacific Voice Conferences in San Francisco, the Vancouver Voice Conference in 1995, the Australian Voice Association in 2004 and the Canadian Voice Care Foundation in Banff, Canada in 1999 and 2006. She is a co-author of the Voice Clinic Handbook. Her studio includes both eminent singers and those at the beginning of their professional careers. She has a particular interest in vocal pedagogy – the nuts and bolts of the singing voice, and vocal rehabilitation.’
‘On the wings of Rudolf Jansen’s excellent accompaniment, Frieder Lang’s rendition of Schubert’s ‘Musensohn’ was the best achievement among male semi finals contesters.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, ‘Jury genereus,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 4, 1976)
‘He sang Lieder by Schubert and Richard Strauss with ease and was noticeably more relaxed than during the competition. In his two Mozart arias he proved a talent for this genre too; they sounded most convincing.’ (Chris de Jong-Stolle, ‘Tam concert,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 8, 1976)
German tenor Frieder Lang (April 28, 1950, Affalter, Germany) sang as a boy in Dresdner Kreuzchor from 1960 to 1968. In 1968 he came to West Germany and had training for choir and orchestra directing, school music, organ playing and singing (with Margit Kobeck) at the College of Music Cologne. At the same time he studied German and music science at the Cologne University from 1969 to 1975. He completed his singing studies with Paul Lohmann in Thun (Switzerland) and with Hans Hotter in Munich. His Prize ‘Foundation Dutch Musical Interests’ at the 1975 IVC Den Bosch proved the upbeat to winning a singing competition for opera in Bonn 1977, which initiated his career. As an opera singer Frieder Lang made guest appearances at the State Opera of Hamburg, at the Opera House of Cologne, at the Holland Festival, in Berne, Klagenfurt, Heidelberg and Tel Aviv.
Hans Werner Henze: Voices ‘Patria’
Frieder Lang (tenor), Musikfabrik NRW - Johannes Kalitzke (conductor) CD CPO 1992
Frieder Lang's international career materialized as a concert singer. As such, he appeared in Switzerland and Germany, including in Basel, Berne, Zürich, Geneva, in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt am Mainz, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Wiesbaden, in Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin. He performed at the Luzern Festival Weeks, at the Bach and Handel Festival Munich, with the Lüneburg Bach Weeks, at the Festival of Wroclaw (Breslau) and at Salzburg Festival, where he appeared in 1986 as a soloist in a Mozart concert. Further concert appearances in Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Paris and Toulouse, in Antwerp and Gent, in Turin and Rome, in Vienna, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Both as oratorio soloist and as Lieder interpreter he mastered an extremely versatile repertoire. He lives in Richterswil in the Swiss canton Zürich. Selected recordings: Bach’s Matthäus-Passion (CBS); Works of Heinrich Schütz and H.W. Henze (DGG); Carissimi’s Jephte, Mendelssohn’s ‘Symphony No. 2 Lobgesang, Nicolai’s ‘Messe in D major,’ Lortzing’s Christi Himmelfahrt (Schwann); Dittersdorf’s Doktor und Apotheker (RBM); Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht (Cascavelle).
‘The young countertenor Drew Minter sang an aria from a little known Bach cantata so touching, that he would have had a hard to time missing the finals, even if he had completely screwed up the other selections.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Brabants Dagblad, ‘Goed gemiddelde in demi-finale,’ September 1976)
‘Hardly 20, the American ‘boy’ Drew Minter could be proud of his Second Prize. With his innate musicality, style, keen sense of timing and his technical skills, he will mature into a great artist in a mere years from now.’ (Charles Fabius, ‘Vocalistenconcours voorkomt Inflatie,’ De Volkskrant, September 9, 1976)
US countertenor Drew Minter (January 11, 1955 Washington D.C) began his musical pursuits at the age of 9 as a boy treble at the Washington National Cathedral. He first studied at Indiana University, where he received his B.S. in Music and Languages in 1977, then at the Vienna Musikhochschule where he received his Diploma in Lieder and Oratorio in 1979. Although still in the middle of his studies, Minter decided early on to test his capacities in various vocal competition, with a surprise and stunning Second Prize in the International Vocal Competition (IVC) Den Bosch 1976, at age 20! We proudly present here a sample of his winning singing here, recorded at the final IVC 1976 Gala Concert.
Bach: Cantate 170 ‘Verglückte Ruh’
Drew Minter (countertenor), Brabants Orkest – André Rieu Sr. (conductor), IVC Gala Concert, House of province, Den Bosch, September 8, 1976
In 1977 he won a prize at the Bruges Early Music Competition as an ensemble member of the Collegium Musicum Budapest, and again in 1983 as a soloist. In 1981 he won the Erwin Bodky Prize for Early Music in Boston. Subsequently, he was also awarded Martha Baird Rockefeller and Fulbright study grants. From then on to the present, Minter ranked among the most celebrated pioneers in the re-emergin tradition of the countertenor. He was a founding member of The Newberry Consort, which made a number of acclaimed recordings on Harmonia Mundi. Among them is his righteously famous, landmark recording of one of the first albums ever completely dedicated to the castrato Senesino, ‘Arias for Senesino,’ from which we present a sample here. Along with the entire album it attests to both the glory of Senesino and Minter, who is truly brilliant here. With rich shading and true colors, he evokes the times of ere.
Händel: Giulio Cesare ‘Va tacito e nascosto’
Drew Minter (Giulio Cesare), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra – Nicholas McGegan (conductor)(CD Arias for Senesino; Harmonia Mundi, 1990)
Represented by over 40 recordings of opera, oratorio, recital and chamber music, Minter has also appeared in two films: Peter Sellars's Giulio Cesare (as Tolomeo) on London/EMI, and a biography of the life of Hildegard von Bingen, In the Symphony of the World (as the Devil) by Flare Productions. His oratorio and recital engagements with orchestras and oratorio societies in America and Europe are too numerous to list. There are broadcast in circulation of his part in the medieval Play of Daniel (Locarno, 1976), Der Heilige Johannes in Leopold I’s Il lutto dell'universo (Universitätskirche Vienna, 1979), the title role in Händel’s Orlando (Washington Baroque Festival 1983), Arcane in Händel’s Teseo from Boston 1985 (in Göttingen 2011 he was Egeo in the same opera), his Endimione in Cavalli’s La Callisto (Glimmerglass Opera 1996).
In recent seasons Minter has broadened his activities to include playing early harps. Lately he founded Trefoil, a trio of early music specialists who both sing and play on plucked strings the virtuoso French ars subtilior repertoire of the late 14th century. He is also a founding member of My Lord Chamberlain's Consort, a renaissance vocal and plucked-string band, with whom he sings and plays early harps. His recital, ‘Sweet Sorrow: Medieval Songs of Parting,’ is a virtuosic self-accompanied journey of songs of the troubadours and minnesingers. In addition, he has written a number of scholarly articles and reviews for music publications such as Opera News.
Since 1994 Drew Minter has directed over twenty productions of opera and musical theatre. Known for his performances and recordings of the music of Händel. Minter has done more than two dozen of Händel's dramatic works on the stage as either singer or director, and sometimes as both. He was also the stage director in the production of Conradi’s revived baroque opera Ariadne in Boston. His knowledge of baroque stage practice, in particular the acting methods of the 18th century, is extensive. In recent years he has taught master classes in both the musical and dramatic interpretation of baroque opera, (as well as later opera), especially the physical gestures and ornamentation which were a working part of every baroque singer's arsenal. Drew Minter now teaches voice on the faculties of Vassar and Smith Colleges, and is a guest artist of the Opera Institute of Boston University. In addition, he has taught annually at the Amherst Early Music summer academy for the past six years.
The Brazilian tenor Aldo Baldin (January 1, 1945, Urussanga – January 5, 1994 - Waldbronn, Germany) was the son of Italian parents who immigrated to Brazil. There he studied piano and cello playing in Porto Allegre and in Rio de Janeiro singing with Eliane Sampaio. The renowned conductor Karl Richter became attentive to his beautiful voice and arranged for him the studies in Germany, where at the Musikhochschule of Frankfurt he was a pupil of Martin Gründler. Studies followed with Margarethe von Winterfeldt in Berlin, with Conchita Badia and with Noëmi Perugia in Paris. After that Aldo Baldin already worked as a concert singer, engaged during 1975-1977 at the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern. In 1976 he participated at the International Vocal Comeptition Den Bosch, where he obtained an Honorary Diploma. Since 1977 he was the first lyric tenor at the National Theatre of Mannheim. Among other things he appeared in 1981 at the Deutsche Opera House in Berlin, in 1983 at the Opera of Rome as Arbace in the Mozart’s Idomeneo, in 1989 at the Opera House of Cologne. He gave guest appearance at the opera of Rio de Janeiro as Tamino in the Die Zauberflöte. He was considered as outstanding Mozart singer (in roles such as Belmonte, Idamante, Arbace in Idomeneo, Don Ottavio, Tamino). In addition, he appeared successfully on the stage also as Alfredo in La Traviata and as Alfred in Die Fledermaus. At the Salzburg Festival he sang the tenor solo in Dvorák’s Stabat Mater (1987), Handel’s Messiah (1988), and Mozart’s ‘C-moll Messe.’ As a concert singer, he particularly excelled as soloist in oratorios and in religious choral works, he found himself more occupied in this area than by his stage appearances. He undertook extended concert tours, which brought him to France, Holland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, to Switzerland, to Israel and to the USA as well as to South America (Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo). There he also gave guest appearances at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires (1980, as David in the Der Meistersinger). Baldin worked with the greatest conductors in Europe, such as Helmuth Rilling, Rolf Beck, Sir Neville Marriner, Peter Schreier, Karl Richter and Herbert Von Karajan. He recorded over 100 albums and won a Grammy in 1981 for the album 'The Creation', by Haydn. He was also professor at the Karlruhe School of Music and was sought after by music students from all over the world.
Since 1979 Aldo Baldin was lecturer at the Musikhochschule of Heidelberg, and later he became a professor at the Musikhochschule of Karlsruhe. He moved to Germany and lived there until the day of his precocious death, of heart attack, on January 6, 1994, only 49 years old. He was married with Brazilian Irene Maria Flesch and had two children: Serena and Sofia. His children live in Waldbronn, Germany.
Baldin recorded extensively: Vox (sacred music, including Masses by J. Haydn), DGG (Johannes-Passion (BWV 245) by J.S. Bach), Philips (Bach Cantatas, The Creation and L'Infedeltà Delusa by Haydn, Monostatos in the Die Zauberflöte, Basilio in The Marriage of Figaro), Telefunken (The Creation of Haydn, Cantatas of Dietrich Buxtehude), Schwann (sacred vocal works), Orfeo (Requiem by Donizetti), Hänssler-Verlag (Missa Solemnis by L.v. Beethoven), Eurodisc (Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) by J.S. Bach), Ambitus (Verdi’s Requiem), Carus (Bach Cantatas); Castle-Video (Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244)). In addition, there are a few dozen broadcast recordings available that preserved his voice. Among them the Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer (Barcelona, 1983), Arbace in Idomeneo (Berlin, 1981; Rome, 1983), Gurrelieder (RAI Milan, 1983), Nelson Messe (Hamburg, 1988), Cherubini’s ‘Missa Solemnis No. 2’ (ZDF, 1987), E.T.A. Hoffmann’s ‘Miserere’ (LP RIAS Köln), Isouard’s Le billet de lotterie (WDR broadcast), and on video a Matthaeus Passion from Gelsenkirchen 1990 with IVC 1978 2nd Prize winner Jard van Nes.
Haydn: ‘Se tu mi sprezzi, ingrata’ (Insert aria for Sarti’s I finti Eredi)
Aldo Baldin (tenor), Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne – Antal Dorati (conductor), 1980 (CD Philips 432 419-2).
Recently, an award winning movie was made about him, titled Aldo Baldin – A Life for Music, which unfolds the experience of the great Brazilian tenor, who conquered Europe in the '80s and at the time he was considered one of the finest interpreters of Bach.
‘The third Dutch finalist was the Hungarian-Dutch mezzo Ibolya Sárvári-Bronkhorst, who won an Honorary Diploma, a BUMA Prize, and the invitation to compete in the NCRV Television Vocal Competition.’ This opera singer has a beautiful voice, although she still has to learn a thing or two in terms of interpretation.’ (Charles Fabius, ‘Vocalistenconcours voorkomt Inflatie,’ De Volkskrant, September 9, 1976)
‘The Dutch soprano Ibolya Sárvári-Bronkhorst was looking perhaps a shade too overtly for drama in her manners and mannerisms, although one has to admit that she came onto the music in a very positive spirit; if she revealed her limits in terms of technique, one can forgive her in the light of having chosen the devilishly difficult Cenerentola aria of Rossini.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Brabants Dagblad, September 1976)
‘Brigitte Eisenfeld achieved an excellent performance with largely unusual music. Odd, since she proved great skills in the coloraturas of Mozart’s concert aria and Thomas’s Mignon aria. In addition, she had given opera as preferred genre. In a Prokofiev song she was no less successful.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, ‘Jury genereus,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 4, 1976)
‘Brigitte Eisenfeld (GDR) sang Bach impaccible; in Blondchen’s aria from Die Entführung aus dem Serail she proved to be a born Mozart soprano; in the bell song from Lakmé she proved an excellent and talented coloratura soubrette.’ (Jules Cuypers, ‘Japanse sopraan won Vocalistenconcours,’ De Telegraaf, September 6, 1976)
German Kammersängerin Brigitte Eisenfeld (September 15, 1945) was born in Falkenstein in Vogtland. She completed her singing studies at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ Berlin. Furthermore, she took singing lessons with Hans Eisenfeld and Kammersängerin Maria Corelli. Eisenfeld is a laureate of international competitions, including in Salzburg and the IVC 's-Hertogenbosch, where she competed among the favorites until the finals, securing an Honorary Diploma (sometimes considered as Third Prize). As a sample of her art close to her IVC participation we provide a dazzling performance of ‘Les oiseaux dans les charmille’ from Berlin, 1978, which reveals that perhaps the loss was not entirely hers, since, career and voice wise, Eisenfeld would certainly not have looked bad among the higher Prize ranges of the 1976 IVC!
Offenbach: Les contess d’Hoffmann ‘Les oiseau dans les charmille’
Brigitte Eisenfeld (Olympia), Berlin, 1978
She was renowned in opera, operetta, concerts and galas, but also as a permanent guest German Radio & Television productions. She was the moderator in her own television show ‘Die Liebe hat bunte Flügel.’ From 1974 until her retirement in 2008, this coloratura soprano was part of the ensemble of the Staatsoper ‘Unter den Linden.’ Her important roles include Norina in Don Pasquale, Rosalinde und Adèle in Die Fledermaus, Blonde und Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Frau Fluth in Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Olympia in Les contess d’Hoffmann, Gilda in Rigoletto, Violetta in La Traviata, Nedda in Pagliacci, Marie in Zar und Zimmermann, and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos (post retirement she continued to perform there as a gues performer). Throughout her career, extensive guest performances brought her to stages in Germany and abroad, including frequent appearances at the Dresden Semperoper, and in 1992 at the Vienna State Opera as Zerbinetta. Since 1995 Eisenfeld works as a singing teacher and she supervised a number of internationally renowned singers; she gives master classes and workshops.
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A good number of her roles are preserved in German radio broadcasts, most notably her Zerbinetta (Staatsoper Berlin, 1990; Wiener Staatsoper, 1992), her Olympia (a GDR broadcast, with the earliest recording of her Doll song – as mentioned – dating back to 1978), her Rosalinde (Staatsoperette Dresden, 1996). Particularly interesting are her soprano solo in a veritable repertoire rarity, Franz Schreker’s Der Schmied von Gendt (Staatsoper Berlin, 1981), and her Spanierin in Die Ferne Klang (Staatsoper Under den Linden, 2001). Of further interest are also her Dorilla in Hasse’s Die listige Magd, Cephisa in Telemann’s Orpheus (Innsbrück, 1994), and Erste Engelstimme in Pfitzner’s Palestrina (Staatsoper Berlin, 1986). In 2000 she gave a Chanson program in the Berliner Staatsoper, titled ‘Liebling, was wird nun aus uns beiden…’ In official recordings she is Trigesta in the Harmonia Mundi landmark recording of Keiser’s Croesus under René Jacobs. Televised or filmed productions exist of her Sandrina in Mozart’s La finta giardiniera (WDR, German sung). As Frau Fluth she appears in the 1991 television movie of Nicolai’s Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, and as Flower Maiden in the Parsifal DVD production of Staatsoper Unter der Linden under Daniel Barenboim. Last but not least, she appears alongside her four brothers (among them the historian Bernd Eisenfeld, who openly opposed the GDR government) she sketches the GDR history in the 1996 documentary Die Eisenfelds.
NCRV BROADCASTING PRIZE
John Janssen had his vocal education at the Conservatorium von Maastricht from Hans-Günther Grimm, in which he graduated next to his major for Piano (Jo Dusseldorp), with the ‘Prix d'Excellence.’ His mentor for Interpretation was Wolfgang Trommer. As an actor the Swedish Stage Director Göran Järvefelt, who was a pupil of Ingmar Bergmann, mainly shaped him. For lack of a First and Second Prize winner, Janssen was not only the best in his category at the IVC 1976, but also one of the most successful winners ever, given that he received no less than 5 prizes: The Prize BUMA Foundation,’ the Young Talent Prize ‘Toonkunst,’ the Friends of Song Prize, the VARA Broadcasting Prize and the NCRV Broadcasting prize. The Friends of Song Prize introduced him to the world of concert singing, since his prize consisted of three performances for their select audience of the Friends of Song circle. The NCRV television competition gave him the right to directly enter their newly established and much discussed vocal television competition.
In Gelsenkirchen he did his first Papageno in Göran's first staging of Mozart's Zauberflöte. In the same director’s renowned staging of Don Giovanni he sang the title role at the Royal Slottsteater Drottningholm in Stockholm, at the1982 reprise where he stepped into Håkan Hagegård’s shoes as Don Giovanni. At the National theatre of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, where John Janssen was engaged, he made above all furore with his interpretation of Adriano in Richard Wagner's Rienzi. Here for he was awarded with the Price of the Munich Festival and was nominated as Singer of the Year 1984. Next to Adriano he sang here a.o. the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni next to Julia Varady as Donna Anna, Judith Beckmann as Donna Elvira and Stafford Dean as Leporello. His debut at the State Opera of Munich was Conte Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro under Wolfgang Sawallisch with Margaret Price as Contessa and Hermann Prey as Figaro. He guested at the Hamburg State Opera already during his first year of engagement at the Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen, where, next to the most popular baritone roles, his Jacob Lenz in the homonymous opera of Wolfgang Rihm belonged to his biggest successes. This production, staged by Thomas Rübenacker and conducted by Volkmar Olbrich, was invited to Paris, Rennes, Munich, Frankfurt, Zagreb, and on a tour through South-America. Later John Janssen performed his Jacob Lenz in Alessandria, at the ‘Festivale Settembre’ in Torino and at the Vienna State Opera. Since 1986 John Janssen works freelance. As a guestsinger he sang a.o. at the following theatres: Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin; Opera of Sankt Gallen, Bern and Basel; Wuppertaler Bühnen; Drottningholms Slottsteater in Stockholm; Det Kongelige Teater in Kopenhagen; La Zarzuela in Madrid; Canadian Opera Company in Toronto; Bienàle Festivàlu in Ostrava (CZ).
Janssen lived in Italy for nine years, where he sang a.o. in Teatro La Fenice in Venice,
Collegio Borromeo in Pavia, Parma Lirica in Parma, Palazzo Ducale in Colorno, Duomo di Cremona, Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Teatro Verdi in Mantova and Teatro Comunale di Sassari. As a concert singer and in song recitals he performed a.o. in the Herkulessaal and Gasteig in Munich; Schumannhaus in Bonn; Cathédrale Saint Lazare in Autun; Basilique de Véselay; Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, U.S.A.; Auditorium Maximum of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Liceo Artistico in Zürich. He sang under conductors such as Kurt Eichhorn, Carlo Franci, Matthias Göttemann, Heinrich Hollreiser, Carlos Kleiber, Ferdinand Leitner, Arnold Östmann, George Prêtre, Julius Rudel, Donald Runnicles, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.
VARA BROADCASTING PRIZE
Anne Marie Dunant
‘The French soprano is not easily overlooked, given her saturated sound which achieved truly beautiful things, even though her mimics looked a little forced and artificial. Nonetheless, she came for once with a lovely piece form Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, ‘Jury genereus,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 4, 1976)
PRIZE BUMA FOUNDATION
‘The Dutch soprano Wendela Bronsgeest can be proud of a fine technique and equal musical finesse, although she arrived to these finals one year before her time.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, ‘Jury genereus,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 4, 1976)
‘Another name to remember is Wendela Bronsgeest, who won the prize ‘Friends of Song, and the BUMA Prize. A very musical singer with a small, but extremely cultivated voice, perfectly suited to the demands of oratorio.’ (Charles Fabius, ‘Vocalistenconcours voorkomt Inflatie,’ De Volkskrant, September 9, 1976)
Dutch soprano Wendela Bronsgeest initially studied Art History, but changed to studying singing at the Royal Conservatory The Hague, where she studied with Herman Woltman and Meinard Kraak. While still in her final year there, she succeeded in securing the IVC BUMA Prize and the Friends of Song prize 1976. In 1977 she graduated at the conservatory with distinction, following which she studied interpretation with Pierre Bernac, Félix de Nobel and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. In 1977 she also won the Nicolai Prize and obtained a Mozart Wettbewerb Diplom in Salzburg. Following, she appeared at the Summer Festivals of Bath and Ediburgh, while also appearing in Italy, Canada and the USA, Bronsgeest’s repertoire includes all genres. She was particularly successful with interpreting modern classics by the likes of Hindemith, Markevich, Schönberg, Webern and Zemlinski.
Gerrit Jan van Eyken: ‘Ich sah in die blaue unendliche See’
Wendela Bronsgeest (soprano), Geoffrey Madge (piano), Haags Gemeentemuseum, 1986 (LP Mercato MR 08502)
Although she appeared internationally, the heart of her career was forged within The Netherlands, where she frequently appeared in radio broadcasts, among them in the famous VARA 1980’s series in Vredenburg, Utrecht, where she was Ermyngarde in a unique revival of Mascagni’s spectacular opera Isabeau . Apart from Adriaan van Limpt and Lynne Strow Piccolo as the protagonists, the cast largely looked like an IVC porpourri, with IVC 1961 2nd Prize winner Henk Smit, IVC 1970 Young Talent Prize winner Tom Haenen as Cornelius, IVC 1978 2st Prize winner Jard van Nes as Ermyntrude, and IVC 2009 Juror Charles van Tassel as Araldo, conducted by Kees Bakels (CD Bongiovanni). Apart from the Isabeau LP/CD release, Bronsgeeest made two major solo recordings. One is a historically important LP release made in cooperation with the Municipality Museum The Hague, dedicated to songs by Dutch composers Gerrit Jan van Eyken, Samuel de Lange Senior & Junior, and Daniël de Lange (Mercato MR 08502). In addition, there is a 1994 CD recording with long time IVC accompanist Thom Bollen, where she sings songs by Roussel, Brahms, Walton, Richard Strauss and Duparc (CD Erasmus WVH 150).
The Austrian tenor and singing teacher, Norbert Prasser was already a boy soloist at the high-school Kollegium Petrinum in Linz. He received his first singing lessons and organ lessons at the Brucknerkonservatorium in Linz. A blue Monday at the Theologischen Hochschule of Linz in 1971 was followed by vocal studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, where he graduated in Lied and Oratorio, singing pedagogy and music education. He received further training with Liselotte Egger and later with Karlheinz Jarius in Frankfurt. Right from the start of his career in 1975, Prasser combined his artistic career as a concert singer and a member of numerous vocal ensembles with a career in teaching, most notably also at the Mozarteum Salzburg. A finalist at the International Vocal Competition (IVC) Den Bosch 1976, he was awarded one of the three ‘BUMA Foundation’ Prizes for his rendition of a song by a Dutch composer.
Stefano Bernardi: Responsoria Matutinalia per Hebdomadem Sanctam ‘Sicut ovis’
Norbert Prasser (tenor), Regine Sturm, Reinhild Buchmayer, Franziskus Schachreiter, Vokalensemble St. Michael, Consortium Lunaelacense - Gottfried Holzer-Graf (conductor), 2014 (CD Officium)
In solo singing his continuing focus is in the field of oratorio, particularly in Germany and Switzerland. As a representative of the middle academy for many years he was a member of the boards and played a prominent role in higher education policy. In 2000 he was appointed as university professor. At the Universität Mozarteum in addition to singing, he taught the subjects of singing education, and teaching practice. Our friends of the Bach-Cantatas website mention Prasser as tenor soloist in Bach’s Weihnachtsoratoium under conductor Rupert Gottfried Frieberger. In addition he was the tenor solist in Mozart’s Requiem, under the same conductor. He also appears briefly in Isaac Posch’ ‘Harmonia Concertans’ (CPO).