Best Singer of the Contest ƒ 1000, Jeroen Bosch Medal of the City of Den Bosch, Appearance in the Final Concert, Radio Broadcast, Honorary Medal, Diploma
1st prize ƒ 1000, Appearance in the Final Concert, Radio Broadcast, Honorary Medal, Diploma
2nd prize ƒ 500, Honorary Medal, Diploma
Honorary diploma For singers who who did not win a First or Second Prize, but nonetheless distinguished themselves
Encouragement Prize ƒ 500, Encouragement Prize Maatschappij ter Bevordering van de Toonkunst
Maria van Dongen Soprano NL
1st prize Not awarded    
2nd prize Valerie Cardnell Soprano UK
2nd prize Maria van Dongen Soprano NL
Not awarded
Not awarded
1st prize Not awarded    
2nd prize Ranken Bushby Bass UK
2nd prize Derek Hammond-Stroud Bass UK
Simon van der Geest Tenor NL
Renate Günther Alto GE
Ferdinand Koch Tenor GE
Gabriela Obremba-Wajda Soprano PL
E. Barr Peterson Bass US
Maria Verbruggen-Verhaert Alto BE
Inge Wolff Soprano AU
Nelly Dijkhuizen Soprano NL



Ranken Bushby

Winners-Ranken-BushbyThe 1957 edition of the IVC brought Ranken Bushby’s first participation in the contest, where he would reappear in 1958. It was then that his voice was chaacterized as a sonorous, true baritone, well equalized, and rich in nuance, even when singing piano. Post his 1958 victory he continued his career mostly in the UK provinces, landing the comprimario part of The Novice's Friend in Britten's revised Billy Bud presentation of November 13, 1960, conducted by the composer. Two years later he appeared in the BBC recording of Delius Fennimore and Gerda, which was released on vinyl. He sang both Sportsman and Counciler Skinnerup. His second Night of the Proms performance followed in 1963, when he performed Brahms's Liebeslieder there, together with his 1958 IVC co-winner Elisabeth Simon. Perhaps best known due to several radio broadcast is his performance as Pompeo in the BBC 1963 broadcast of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini, arguably the most substantial music available to testify of his voice today. Available on a Reader's Digest CD are his three folksongs from the British Isles, originally released in 1965 on the LP 'Greensleeves And Other Favorite Folk Songs.'

Traditional: ‘Dance Ti' Thy Daddy’
LP ‘Greensleeves’ And Other Favorite Folk Songs (LPRCACM 313)

Maria van Dongen

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Although ‘form of the day’ is defenitely a key feature to vocal competition, Maria de Ruiter–van Dongens Second Prize at the 4th IVC now reads as nothing short of a dissapoitment, even if she herself has never expressed such feelings. When she entered the competition she had just made a tremendously succesfull debut with the Dutch Opera. Hers was a warm, vibrant instrument and this quality made it almost ‘un-Dutch’. To make her ‘Best singer of the contest’ and give her the second prize ‘with distinction’ indeed seems to have been an organisatory mistake with respect to ill advized ambitions regarding the aimed for level of the competition. Just prior to the IVC she had triumphedas Elisabetta in Verdi’s DOnC Arlo with the Dutch Opera ensemble, the result of years of hard labore. Van Dongen: ‘I have been singing since childhood; from kindergarten onwards I was always summened to sing up front. Later, at school, I just continued singin…’ Her real vocal studies started when she was 16, after she had graduated from the MULO (high school). To finance her vocal lessons and make a living, she combined her vocal studies with jobbing as a typist, or an administrator. Her studies were therefore accomplished in the evenings, nothwitstanding the fact that she had to travel up and down to Amsterdam daily, where she was employed withpublisher Querido (Van Dongen: ‘A nice job’). Around 1949 Van Dongen had married, and at her daughter was born in 1950. She started singing professionally from 1952 onwards, when she took a post in the opera Choir of Alexander Krannhals. She remained there fo a full two years, to her great satisfaction: ‘In a choir you leearn so much more then any school could teach you’. After the choir years, she managed to continue her studies in Dusseldorf with Prof. Martiensen. This meant she had to leave the house at 7.30 in order to be in time in Dusseldorf (germany), where after 3 quarter of an hours worth teachings, she returned the long journey home,a rriving there at 7.30 PM. Her efforts were rewarded with an operatic debut as Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, followed by the Erste Dame in the same opera. Next came the niece in Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes, followed by Johan Strauss’ Die Zigeunerbaron, a role that was as well received as her September 1957 Leonoras in Verdi’s Forza del Destino.

For Maria van Dongen’s full biography, please visit 401DutchDivas

Verdi: Don Carlos 'Tu'che la vanità'
Maria van Dongen (Elisabetta), Dutch Radio Orchestra – Carlo Maria Giulini (conductor)
Hilversum, May 1963.

Simon van der Geest

Winners-Simon-van-der-GeestJudging his appearance at the IVC 1957, the critic Pelemans though tenor Simon van der Geest (1935-2001) to have a strong voice for chamber music. Apparently, the young tenor indeed needed time to bolster his powers, for it wasn’t until 1966 that he debuted at the 'Nederlandse Operastichting' as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, with Cristina Deutekom as his Queen of the Night. Onwards, his lyric tenor was a regular pleasure for Dutch opera lovers, who heard him here in roles as Don Basilio (Le nozze di Figaro), Alfred (Die Fledermaus), Monsieur Triquet ( Evgeni Onjegin) and in operas of Rossini, Richard Strauss and as Albert Herring in the same opera of Benjamin Britten. As a concert-singer he appeared in a a wide ranging repertoire, including Bach's Matthäus Passion (a.o. under Eduard van Beinum), usually as Evangelist and in his cantatas. He also appeared frequently in radio concerts. Simon van der Geest sang during the last years of his career especially character roles, with which he was very successful. His final opera performance was on December 29th, 1985 in the Circus theater, Scheveningen, as Altoum, the emperor in Puccini's Turandot, fittingly with Cristina Deutekom in the title role.

Mozart: Der Schauspieldirektor ‘Trio’
Simon van der Geest (tenor), Cristina Deutekom (Madame Herz), Wilma Driessen (Madame Silberklang)

Ferdinand Koch

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‘A cold but beautiful voice,’ thus wrote Willem Pelemans of Ferdinand Koch in Het Laatste Nieuws, published on 22 September 1957. Remarkably little is known about this singer who nonetheless had quite a considerable career. The first obvious traces of his whereabouts are the 1955 recording of Beethoven’s ‘Ninth Symphony’ with the Gürzenich-Orchester Kölner Philharmoniker conducted by Günther Wand, with soprano Teresa Stich-Randall, alto Lore Fischer, and bariton Rudolf Watzke (CD Testament SBT 1287). In 1957, the year of his IVC participation he appears in Liszt’s ‘Faust Symphonie’, conducted by Jasha Horenstein and release don a Vox LP (later rereleased on cd VOC Legends CDX2-5504). More information / photographs and/or recordings ofFerdinand Kochare welcome atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Franz Liszt: ‘Eine Faust Symphonie’
III. Mephisto; Choral Finale
Ferdinand Koch (tenor), Southwest German Radio Orchestra, Baden-Baden – Jascha Horenstein, 1957.

Gabriela Obremba-Wajda

Winners-Gabriela-Obremba-WajdaBy the time of her 19657 IVC appearance, Polish soprano Gabriela Obremba-Wajda (March 24th, 1927– January 12, 1997) had just graduated from the Warzaw conservatory, where she had completed her studies with Madam Stani-Zawadzka. Before singing, she had completed the art academy, where she was trained as a painter. At the IVC she managed to create an almost bitter gap between the Jury o none side, and the audience and the press on the other side. The jury didn’t merit her performances with more than an honorary diploma, whereas the audience had wanted their favorite to win the First Prize in the soprano category. Willem Pelemans writing for Het Laatste Nieuws explains that the reason for this discrepance was the fact that although she lacked in art song and oratorio skills, she was most promising in opera [which was then favored by the audience – RS]. Cornelis Basioski from Nieuwe Haagsche Courant wrote a passionate article that stressed her fantastic accomplishment at the IVC, where she had demonstrated to be the master of ‘a perfectly egalized voice which sounded warm, full and resonant throughout all registers, which were also perfectly blended. A combination of features that not even Gré Brouwnstijn has at her disposal. On top of that her singing had musical allure, she sounded aristocratic’. The caption that accompanied her photo spelled: ‘The Polish soprano Gabriela Obremba-Wajda from Warszaw, who at the IVC Den Bosch was superior, yet reqwarded with nothing but an honorary diploma.’

Apparently, her succes with the audience during the competition was such, that she appeared in concert a mere day after the finals. Although this concert at the Netherlands-Poland Society was not open to the public at large, members of the press were invited and Hst. Fo De Tijd published a rather unfavorable review. He judged her appearance premature: ‘She has some strong points in her voice, but still more weak ppints that should first be devloped. Her voice stiffens and sounds forced in the upper register, while her low notes are weak.Her glory is to bes een in her middle register, where she can surprise one. However, that alone isn’t enough to hold one’s attention fora n entire evening. Especially since her spiritual development is also not on a par wit the emotions she is supposed to express. She was at her best in Lisa’s aria from Tchaikovski’s Pique Dame, where her simple emotions were perfect to convey the worls of the tragic heroine.’ Arguably, this was not just a premature recital, but also a premature review, exept perhaps for the conclusion, where ‘Hst.’ Noted that those invited greatly enjoyed Wajda’s post pauze performance, which was built on a string of Polish folk songs and som art songs by Schubert, Brahms and Schumann that were altready entertaining by the simplef act that most present heard those songs in the Polish language for the first time in their lives. 

More information / photographs and/or recordings ofGabriela Obremba-Wajdaare welcome atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

E. Barr Peterson

The American bass Barr Peterson (April 3, 1924 - Mason City, Iowa, USA) had worked initially in commercial occupations, before studied singing with Ruth Streeter in Boston, then with Franz Karl in Munich. In 1955 Barr Peterson made his stage debut at the Stadttheater of Münster (Westphalia) as Osmin in the Entführung aus dem Serail by Mozart. He appeared on various German stages, and along his over twenty years long career he could often be heard at the Staatstheater of Hannover, and as a guest at the Deutschen Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg, and at the Opera Houses of Dortmund, Essen und Wuppertal. On January 29, 1967 he participated in Hannover in the premiere of the opera Die Doppelgängerin by Jan Meyerowitz. Among his roles should be mentioned: Sarastro in Zauberflöte, Rocco in Fidelio, Warlaam and Pimen in Boris Godunov, King Philipp in Verdi's Don Carlos, Pater Guardian in La forza del destino, Ramphis in Aida, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Daland in Fliegenden Holländer, König Heinrich in Lohengrin, Pogner in Meistersingern, Landgraf in Tannhäuser, Marke in Tristan, the entire bass roles in N Der Ring des Nibelungen, Kaspar in Freischütz, Falstaff in Lustigen Weibern von Windsor by Nicolai and Basilio in Rossini's Barbier von Sevilla. Recordings: MMS-Concert Hall (bass solo in Verdi's Requiem). 

More information / photographs and/or recordings oBarr Petersonare welcome atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Derek Hammond Stroud

Winners-Derek-Hammond-Stroud-Derek Hammond-Stroud was a highly regarded baritone who enlivened the British lyric stage for several decades in a variety of roles. His remarkable diction enabled him to shine in patter roles of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas and he featured prominently in that repertoire throughout his career. But he also brought that asset to the landmark Sadler's Wells productions of Wagner under Reginald Goodall, delivering colourful, accomplished performances of the roles of the querulous town clerk Beckmesser in The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and of the scheming dwarf, Alberich, in The Ring of the Nibelung.’ (The Guardian, 2012 Obituary)

The voice of Derek Hammond Stroud (London 1926-2012) was recognized as early as age 10, when he received his first stipendium. He attended Salvatorian college, Harrow, and went on to study at the Trinity College of Music. Subsequently, he completed his studies with Elena Gerhardt in Vienna and with Prof. Gerhard Hüsch. He made his debut in 1955 in Haydn's Orfeo ed Euridice, a concert performance at the St Pancras Festival that marked the British premiere of the work. At the same festival he made his stage debut two years later as Publius in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito. Following his Publius, Stroud participated in the International Vocal Competition Den Bosch, where he obtained Second Prize in the Jos Orelio category, on a par with Ranken Bushby.

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Stroud appeared at Glyndebourne from 1959 onwards, and he joined the ranks of the Sadler's Wells company (subsequently English National Opera) in 1961, distinguishing himself in such roles as Dr Bartolo in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Melitone in Verdi's La Forza del Destino, Rigoletto, Papageno in The Magic Flute and a succession of character parts in Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. From 1971 onwards he also appeared at Covent Garden (a.o. in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier), and Glyndebourne in 1973 (The Visit of the Old Lady by Gottfried von Einem). Among others, he can be seen as Vicar in the landmark DVD production of Britten’s Albert Herring, conducted by Bernard Haitink in 1985.

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To all these roles he brought an animated delineation enhanced by his trademark diction. His Beckmesser and Alberich in the English language productions of Wagner’s Mastersinger and The Ring cycle are landmark interpetations to date. Of all 1957 IVC participants, Stroud’s career was easily the most impressive, including appearances at The Metropolitan Opera House as off 1977, in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier and Smetana’s Bartered bride. Last but not least he was an acclaimed performerof the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan, two of which he filmed for VHS releases (now available on DVD). A full biography and Discography of Derek Hammond-Stroud can be found at 401DutchDivas.nl


Inge wolff

Little to nothing is known about Inge Wolff, except that she supposedly was an American studying in Vienna, rather than a Viennese by birth. Moreover, being the child of a mixed Dutch-German couple she spoke fluently Dutch, noted the reporter of De Telegraaf on September 19, 1957, after she made it to the finals.

More information / photographs and/or recordings of Inge Wolff are welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.