1961 THE WINNERS

 
THE AWARDS
1st prize ƒ 1000, the medal of Muziekstad Den Bosch, a diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra, a KRO Radio broadcast.
2nd prize ƒ 500, a diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra, a KRO Radio broadcast.
Den Bosch Prize An award for the best singer in the competition
Dutch Opera prize A performance with the Dutch National Opera
Young Talent prize ƒ 500 Study allowance
Honorary diploma Honorary diploma
GREAT PRIZE OF THE CITY OF DEN BOSCH’
Thomas Carey Baritone USA
AALTJE NOORDEWIER-REDDINGIUS PRIZE
1st prize Not awarded
2nd prize Olga Maddalena Soprano IT
2nd prize Karin Ostar Soprano NL
KATHLEEN FERRIER PRIZE
1st prize Yvonne Minton Alto AUS
2nd prize Margaret Duckworth Alto UK
JACQUES URLUS PRIZE
1st prize Not awarded
2nd prize Alphonz Bartha Tenor HU
2nd prize Kenneth John Bowen Tenor UK
JOS ORELIO PRIZE
1st prize Thomas Carey Baritone USA
2nd prize John Wiles Baritone USA
2nd prize Henk Smit Baritone NL
HONORARY DIPLOMAS
Marie M. Femelaer Soprano BE
Ryzzard Lisiecki Bass PP
Hans Martin Swedberg Baritone AUS
“TOONKUNST” ENCOURAGEMENT PRIZE
Maria Magnée Soprano NL
DUTCH OPERA PRIZE’
Thomas Carey Baritone USA

BIOGRAPHIES

Thomas Carey

Thomas Carey‘Thomas Carey proved a brilliant opera singer in an aria from Giordano, he produced a gorgeous mezza voce in Schumann’s ‘Wehmut,’ and proved utterly musical in Brahm’s ‘Ein Deutsches Requiem.’’ (Johan van Dongen, Eindhovens Dagblad, September 6, 1961)

‘Thomas Carey sang Schumann’s ‘Wehmut’ during both performances sin such a way, that it turned into a moving experience.’ (Elsevier’s Weekblad, September, 1961)

With American bass Thomas Carey (December 29, 1937, Bennetsville, Connecticut – January 23, 2002), Den Bosch celebrated a winner who was both the favorite of the press and the audience. His triumph was such, that apart from the First Prize in the Jos Orelio category, he also won the Great Prize of the City of Den Bosch as best singer of the competition, and finally also the prestigious Dutch National Opera Prize, which meant a real performance with Holland’s first ensemble. Trained in the Henry Street Music School New York by the famous soprano Rose Bampton, he soon appeared on Broadway, before continuing his training in Musikhochschule Stuttgart, and with Hans Hotter, Lola Urbach, and Rupert Grundlach. When he next tried his luck at various vocal competitions, Carey proved utterly successful. Apart from the ‘Marian Anderson’ Young Talent prize for colored singers, he also won the Rockefeller Grant, and the competitions in Munich, Brussels, and the IVC Den Bosch 1961. Carey made his operatic stage debut in 1964, with the Dutch National Opera, as Germont padre, in Verdi’s La Traviata, a direct result of his also having won the Dutch National Opera Prize at the IVC 1961. Concerts, opera guest performances and radio recordings soon took him to Copenhagen, Paris, Nice, Stockholm, Lisbon, Basel, Beograd, Zagreb, Venice, and Salzburg. His greatest triumphs he achieved in Germany, where he was a public’s favorite in the Opera Houses of Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Berlin, Essen, Dortmund, Hannover, Karlsruhe, Nurnberg, and Wuppertal. In Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London, he sang Mel in the world premiere of Tippett’s The knot garden. In the USA he performed in Boston, Memphis and New Orleans. Following a performance of Porgy and Bess, he married the well-known colored alto Carol Brice (1918-85).

Negro spiritual carey
Negro spiritual: ‘I'm gonna tell God all o’my troubles’
Thomas Carey (baritone), LP Colosseum StM 3003, 1969.

 

Ultimately, they both received a teaching post at the Oklahoma University in Norman. They also founded an opera company for colored singers, the Circuit Opera Company. Carey could boast of an immaculate technique, musical intelligence, and a modest but very sophisticated stage presence. ‘A cultivate natural talent – unique,’ wrote PV in an unidentified newspaper clipping. Thomas Carey's discography can be found on 401DutchDivas.nl {LINK TO THOMAS CAREY’S DUTCH DIVAS PAGE}, along with some extra samples of his art.

Yvonne Minton

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  • Yvonne Minton at the 1961 IVC

Yvonne Minton from Australia had a voice that reminded me of the alto voice of Jury member Annie Woud, very cultivated. She was touching in Schubert’s ‘Der Tod und das Mädchen,’ and in the aria ‘Erbarme dich’ from the St. Matthew’s Passion. I can see her winning the Kathleen Ferrier Prize here.’ (Johan van Dongen, Eindhovens Dagblad, September 6, 1961)

Alto Yvonne Minton (April 12, 1938, Sidney) studied with Marjorie Walker in Sidney. At age 18, she won there the Elsa Stralia Prize. In 1961, she left Australia to continue her studies in London with Henry Cummings and Joan Cross. In the same year she debuted in the London premiere of Nicholas Maw’s opera A one man show. She then entered the International Vocal Competition in Den Bosch (IVC), where she obtained the prestigious First Prize in the Kathleen Ferrier category of mezzos and altos. She then started giving successful concert recitals in London, and made a name for herself in the Händel opera performances of the Händel Society and the New Opera Company. In 1965, she sang in the BBC telecast of Puccini’s Suor Angelica, as part of Il Trittico, with Tito Gobbi. This was also her debut year at Covent Garden, where she first appeared as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana. She would become a star at the Royal Opera House, with such highlights as Boris Godunov with Boris Christoff, and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, one of her most celebrated roles. On December 2, 1970, she sang together with fellow 1961 UVC winner Thomas Carey in the world premiere of Tippett’s A knot garden.

Yvonne Minton-horn
Mahler: Des Knaben Wunderhorn ‘Das Irdische Leben’
Yvonne Minton (alto), Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Solti (LP IVC 25-Years)

 

Further Covent Garden appearances worth mentioning were her Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Orfeo in Glucks Orfeo ed Euridice, Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, Sesto in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, and Waltraute in Der Ring des Nibeleungen. She appeared at the Edinburgh Festival, and sang Brangäne in Amsterdam, and at the Cologne Opera, where she started long term series of guest appearances in 1970. The year 1970 also saw her debut at Teatro alla Scala Milan, and the Chicago Opera. In 1972 she sang Dalila at the Israel Festival. In 1979, she appeared in the world premiere of the 3 Act version of Alban Berg’s Lulu, in Friedrich Cerha’s reconstruction. In 1978/79 she appeared again as Octavian, also in the Salzburger Festspiele, where she further appeared in a solo recital of Mahler’s ‘Kindertotenlieder.’

VIDEO YVONNE MINTON PARSIFAL

She was also a celebrated Wagner alto, which culminated in Brangäne at the Bayreuth Festival 1974-77, Fricka in Der Ring des Nibelungen 1976, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung. Her Kundry in Parsifal (see video) was world famous. The latter role she also sang at the Teatro Regio Turin, 1988. Still going strong in 1995, she appeared as Gräfin Helfenstein in Hindemith’s Mathis der MalerYvonne Minton recorded countless studio albums in opera, song recitals and concert repertoire. In addition there are many more extant live recordings, and a number of videos. A survey of her discography and videography can be found on her 401DutchDivas page.

SECOND PRIZE WINNERS

Alphonz Bartha

Alphonz Bartha

‘The Hungarian Alphonz Bartha had a wonderful lyric tenor voice. A versatile artist, he sang a song by Liszt, the famous ‘Ingemisco’ from Verdi’s Requiem, and a glorious aria by Mozart, all with remarkable ease.’ (Johan van Dongen, Eindhovens Dagblad, September 6, 1961)

Alphonz Bartha (October 13, 1929, Madars, Hungary) studied singing in Budapest as of 1951. As a student he was already active in the choir of the Hungarian Radio. His operatic debut followed in 1955, at the Debrecen Opera, as Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata. He kept his post there until 1959, when he was promoted to the Budapest national Opera House, the result of a guest appearance there. He remained with the house until the end of his career, in the late 1980’s. He performed there all the great roles from the lyric repertoire, such as Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Don Ottavio inDon Giovanni, Ferrando in Così fan Tutte, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Hervey in Anna Bolena, Lenski in Evgeni Onegin, Fenton in Falstaff, the title role in Gounod’s Faust.

Alphonz Bartha cover
Donizetti:Don Pasquale ‘Com’è gentil’ (ACT III)
Alphonz Bartha (Ernesto), Hungarian Radio Orchestra – Miklós Erdélyi November 24 1959

Given his long experience by the time of his IVC 1961 appearance, one might argue that his career was already fully established when he competed, yet his Second Prize in Den Bosch was the beginning of a series of guest appearances that would bring his to Wexford Festival (Ernesto), London, and The Berlin State Opera Hosue. Alphonz Bartha recorded for the Qualiton-Hungaroton label, where he appeared in opera recordings, as well as in solo recitals. We mention, among other a number of Liszt compositions, such as his Requiem, Faust Symphony, Missa Choralis, Missa Solemnis, and songs. Then also Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail & Die Zauberflöte, and Farkas’ song cycle ‘The magic cupboard’ There are live recordings from the Hungarian State Opera House of his Ernesto (1959), and his Fenton (1966). These give a fair idea of a truly mellifluous, gracious lyric voice. Of the end of his career, there is a Timur in Turandot from 1986.

Alphonz Bartha cover
Verdi:Falstaff ‘Dal labbro incanto’ (ACT III)
Alphonz Bartha (Fenton), Hungarian State Opera Orchestra - János Ferencsik, February 13, 1966

Kenneth John Bowen

Kenneth John Bowen

Kenneth John Bowen (March 8, 1933, Llanelli, Dyfed, Wales) studied at the Wales University and at St. John’s College Cambridge, where he sang in the choir. His career took off following his winning first the Queen Elisabeth Prize in London, and, likewise in 1961, the Second Prize at the IVC in Den Bosch. For the next two decades, he would rank between the most celebrated English concert and oratorio tenors, performing among others at music festival in Israel, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the European Festivals. His stage debut took place in London, in the role of Tom Rakewell in Stravinsky’s the rake’s progress. Bowen took a liking to modern opera, and performed among others in the premiere of Tippett’s King Priam, together with fellow IVC 1961 winner Yvonne Minton. The contrast between his work in the typical baroque oriented English opera and oratorio repertoire with his work in the field of modern music is amply illustrated by our excerpts of Bowen in Händel’s Messiah, and Schönberg’s Gurrelieder, both from our own 25 Years IVC Memorial LP, published in 1978:

Yvonne Minton-horn
Händel: The Messiah ‘He was cut off… But thou didst not leave’
Kenneth John Bowen (tenor), London Sympony Orchestra – Leopold Stokovsky)(LP IVC 25-Years)

 

Yvonne Minton-horn
Schönberg: Gurrelieder ‘Ein seltsamer Vogel ist so'n Aal’
Kenneth Bowen (Klaus Narr), BBC Symphony Orchestra – Pierre Boulez)(LP IVC 25-years)

 

Other works that he helped establish were Britten’s Albert Herring at Covent Garden. With the Scottish Opera he performed in Britten’s The turn of the screw (Peter Quint, Prologue), Purcell’s King Arthur (Oswald), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Belmonte), and the title role of Berlioz’ Le damnation de Faust. He participated further in the world premieres of Hans Werner Henze’s version of Paisiello’s Don Quixote, in Moru Miki’s Actor’s revenge, and Alun Hoddinott’s The Rajah’s diamond (1979). His famous Mozart interpretations, among them Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, culminated in performances with the English national Opera, the Glyndebourne Touring Opera, and the Welsh Opera. For over 25 years, he was a favorite with the English Broadcasting Corporation. Post career he became a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

We would welcome some more photographs from Bowen’s career, particularly also in operatic roles. Should you have some, you are welcome to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Discography

  • ss-Kenneth John Bowen
  • ss-Kenneth John Bowen2
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Bowen participated in a good number of recordings, among them Tippett’s The knot garden, and for CBS Händel’s Messiah (highlights), Schönberg’s Gurrelieder; for TIS he recorded Vivaldi’s Gloria. In addition, there are some recital records, among them a collection of Welsh songs, recorded early in his career ‘Mae Hraeth yn y môr.’ In live recordings there are preserved broadcasts of his appearances in Sullivan’s Utopia Limited (1966), Bizet’s Djamileh (1968), Tippett’s King Priam (1975, with Yvonne Minton), Händel’s Ezio (1977), and fellow Welshman Daniel Jones’ Oratorio (1979).

Margareth Duckworth

Margareth Duckworth

Other than that she won the Second Prize at the 1961 IVC with what was apparently ‘textbook English oratorio style singing,’ nothing is known about English alto Margareth Duckworth. Should you have biographical data, photos and/or recordings by Margareth Duckworth, you are welcome to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Olga Maddalena

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  • Olga Maddalena 1960’s (© 401DutchDivas.nl archives)
  • Signed program Olga Maddalena Concert 1962

 

 

Olga Maddalena sang with refinement, and true Italian bravura.’ (Johan van Dongen, Eindhovens Dagblad, September 6, 1961)

‘Both the semi finals and finals performances of Olga Maddalena were an event that, if one had to describe it in terms of song, can only be compared with the artistic miracle that goes by the name of Edith Piaf.’ (Elseviers Weekblad, September 1961)

Considered a revelation by some already in her first attempt to achieve a result at the IVC 1960, Olga Maddalena all but faded into oblivion. She was born in Naples, where she attended the prestigious St. Pietro à Majella Conservatory. Subsequently, she landed an engagement as a soloist in Berlin. In 1958, she obtained an Honorary Diploma at the Vercelli Vocal Competition. On April 4, 1959, she performed with the chorus and orchestra of the Italian Radio (RAI) before Pope John XXIII. We know that she had a provincial career in Italy that can no longer be traced. During her three IVC participations in 1960, 1961, and 1962, she ranked among the favorites of the audience, for her emotional, intense style in light verismo arias.

Concerts in Den Bosch and Tilburg, 1962

Concerts in Den Bosch and-Tilburg

Following the closing Gala Concert of the 1961 edition of the IVC, Olga Maddalena proved so popular, that she returned to Den Bosch on February 28, 1962, in order to give a solo recital there in Provinciaal Genootschap, followed by a concert in Tilburg. The review of these recitals only adds to the enigma of Maddalena, for how could a soprano that can touch audiences in this manner, vanish so completely after 1962? Olga Maddalena’s voice is fortunately preserved in the 1961 IVC Winners Gala Concert, since that year she won the Second Prize in the soprano range.

Karin Ostar

Karin Ostar

‘The Dutch soprano Karin Ostar had set a difficult task for herself, with the extremely high ranging aria ‘Zerfliesse,’ from Bach’s St. John Passion, the terrifying coloratura aria of the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and then with Richard Strauss’ ‘Allerseelen.’ (Johan van Dongen, Eindhovens Dagblad, September 6, 1961)

Karin Ostar had first participated in the International Vocal Competition Den Bosch in 1957, following her studies at the Conservatory The Hague. She took her time to work on her voice with before trying a second attempt with Nelly Vertrecht, in September 1961. By then she had already started her professional career, singing mostly comprimario parts, among others with the Dutch National Opera. She made her opera debut there on October 17, 1958, in Die Fledermaus, singing Ida. In 1960 she appeared there as Jano in Jenufa, and again in Die Fledermaus, now as Adèle. Her Second Prize at the IVC1961 fuelled her career in The Netherlands and Belgium, mostly in oratorio, and lyrical opera or operetta. She became a frequent recitalist with Dutch radio, and very well known throughout the 1960’s and 70s. On the radio Ostar sang - also under the name of Vera Kranz - in various promenade concertos and shortened operetta versions. In 1967 she appeared with Magda Olivero at the Concertgebouw, in Francesca da Rimini, a recorded performance (CD BellaVoce). She frequently performed with the ensemble Arpa-Triada, consisting of Karin Ostar, pianist Rudy de Heus and founder harpist Edward Witsenburg. Ostar also appeared in Hans Schouwman’s school opera De prinses op de erwt, in 1965. Her opera career was limited, but worth mentioning is a May 25, 1973 Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust in Tilburg.

Karin Ostar cover
Flotow: Martha ‘Zum treuen Freunde geh… Den Teuren zu versöhnen’
Karin Ostar (Martha), Promenade Orchestra – Gijsbert Nieuwland, 1968 (401DutchDivas archives)


Discography

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Karin Ostar's live discography includes a 1963 radio recital with Verdi songs, and a 1967 performance of Léhar’s Giuditta, with The Promenade Orchestra under Gijsbert Nieuwland, with fellow IVC winner Henk Smit as Manuel, and Mizzie van der Lanz as Giuditta. With the same orchestra and conductor she also performed a recorded broadcast of Fred Raymond’s Maske in Blau, with three fellow IVC prize winners Henk Smit and Aukje Karsemijer in the cast. In addition, we have a unique 1968 Promenade Concert recording with Ostar singing aria’s from Flotow’s Martha, and Offenbach’s La belle Hélène. In 1979 she was Clio in Händel’s Parnasso in Festo, with fellow 1961 winners Henk Smit (Marte/Proteo) and Maureen Lehane, in a cast that further included the celebrated Dutch mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Cooymans. Her official recordings includes a Trio Arpa-Triada LP, and some records made with the Choir Maastreechter Staar. For more info, photos and recordings, see her 401DutchDivas page.

Henk Smit

 HENK SMITHenk Smit proved particularly multi talented with an aria from Wagner’s Meistersinger, an imposing singer in aria from Verdi’s Requiem, and a surprising singer in his rendition of the Negro spiritual ‘Deep river.’ (Johan van Dongen, Eindhovens Dagblad, September 6, 1961)

Henk Smit (May 25, 1932 Surhuisterveen – July 17, 2010 Parijs) was a concert-, oratorio- and opera singer. Post his college time, he migrated to Canada with his family. While jobbing to make ends meet, a reverend discovered his voice, and urged him to study. He took private lessons in Toronto, where he then also joined the Conservatory. During the evenings, he gained experience in Church choirs, and opera and operetta societies, until he returned to The Netherlands, in 1960. Once in Amsterdam, Felix Hupka eccepted him into the opera class of the Conservatory there. The next year he was already given a contract with the Dutch National Opera, although things didn’t really take off until later that year, when he won Second Prize at the IVC Den Bosch. His performance rate with the Dutch national opera than quickly multiplied, starting in comprimario parts, but soon also in major roles, such as Bartolols Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Magnifico in Rossini's La Cenerentola, Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West, Ramphis in Aida, Zaccharia in Nabucco, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, Pizarro in Fidelio, Scarpia in Tosca, Peter in Hänsel und Gretel, Klingsor in Parsifal, Der Mann in Schonberg’s Die glückliche Hand, Alberich in Der Ring des Nibelungen and the title roles in Simon Boccanegra, Der fliegende Hollander, Bluebeard, and Don Pasquale.

HENK SMIT cd2
Wagner:Parsifal‘Erwachst du? Ha!’
Henk Smit (Klingsor), Radio Filhrmonisch Orkest – Edo de Waart, Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, April 17, 1992.

 

Numerous appearances followed in a big varied repertory from Bach via Wagner to the modern composers. He performed at the Holland Festival and at the premieres of Winter Cruise (1979, Henkemans) and Esmée (1995, Loevendie). He also gave numerous performances in Europe as well in the United States. The above list suggests a long and prosperous career, and indeed, Smit survived all changes in the leadership of the Dutch National Opera. According to him, one needed a little luck, ‘and a healthy voice. A voice that can stand the wear and tear of time. Many singers eventually pay the price for an imperfect technique. Almost oddly, my voice has been spared, even though I had comparatively little formal training.’ Proof of his longevity are, among others, a 2005 performance in the title role of Massenet’s Don Quichotte, and a 2006 performance in the Amsterdam RAI Theater as Zaccharia in Verdi's Nabucco.Smit was then 73. He passed away in Paris on July 17, 2010, during a Holiday break. A fine selection of his numerous live recordings have been released on the 2012 6CD memorial box set Henk Smit (IMC MUSIC LTD - HSE 1001).

HENK SMIT cd
D'Albert:Tiefland‘Marta… Tu mit mr, was du willst’
Henk Smit (Pedro), Rosanna Rocca (Marta)(© 2012 CD IMC MUSIC LTD - HSE 1001)

 

For more information on the extensive and exceptionally long career of Henk Smit, we refer you to the complete biography, chronology, and discography on 401DutchDivas.


SECUNDARY PRIZE WINNERS


Marie Madeleine Femelaer

‘Marie Madeleine Femelaer from Belgium had an enormous volume and a fine technique.’ (Johan van Dongen, Eindhovens Dagblad, September 6, 1961)

Other information on Marie Madeleine Femelaer is lacking, of her further career we found no trace. Should you have biographical data, photos and/or recordings by Marie Madeleine Femelaer, you are welcome to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ryzzard Liziecki

‘A wonderfull bass, with a dark timbre, who excelled in Tchaikovsky’s Gremin.’ (Johan van Dongen, Eindhovens Dagblad, September 6, 1961)

Nothing more than these kind words by Johan van Dongen is known of Polish bass Ryzzard Liziecki. Should you have biographical data, photos and/or recordings by Liziecki, you are welcome to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Maria Magnée

Maria Magnee

Little to nothing is known of Dutch soprano Maria (or Mieke) Magnée (1941), other than that the won the 1961 Encouragement Price ‘Toonkunst.’ Should you have biographical data, photos and/or recordings by Maria Magnée, you are welcome to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Hans Martin Swedberg

‘Hans Martin Swedberg gave wonderful renditions of Schubert’s ‘An die leier,’ and Struass’ ‘Traum durch die Dämmerung,’ renditions that testified of his touching allure, his style, and taste. ’ (Elsevier’s Weekblad, September, 1961)

Johan van Dongen thought high baritone Hans Martin Swedberg particularly fine in his Tannhäuser aria, although still a bit hesitant. Other information on Swedberg is lacking, of his further career we found no trace. Should you have biographical data, photos and/or recordings by Swedberg, you are welcome to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


John Wiles

John Wiles

‘If Thomas Carey had no capped him, the First Prize might have gone to John Wiles. He has a very special voice, with a robust resonance on an equally robust fundament. Whatever he touches was great, especially his Falstaff monologue.’ (Leo Hanekroot, De Tijd, September 1961)

Johan van Dongen thought John Wiles to have a shade more vibration that was good for him at that point in time, which corresponds with Hanekroot’s notion of ‘robust resonance.’ Where the one thought it a shade too much, Hanekroot thought it perfectly suited to the dramatic demands of opera.. Other information on Wiles is lacking, of his further career we found no trace. Should you have biographical data, photos and/or recordings by John Wiles, you are welcome to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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