1st prize: ƒ 250 & Ferrier/Orelio/Urlus/Reddingius prize
2nd prize: ƒ 100 & Medal of Den Bosch City of Music
Not awarded
1st prize Eva Bornemann Alto DE
1st prize Not awarded
2nd prize Arjan Blanken Tenor NL
2nd prize Willem van der Sluys Tenor NL
1st prize Jean Capiaux Bass FR
2nd prize Albert van Haasteren Baritone NL


  • 1955-ws1
  • 1955-ws2


'The crowned German alto Eva Bornemann couldnot shine as one would have wished in an aria from Elias, even though she rendered it in a very artistic way, with all the warmth and lavishness that her voice can give.’ (W.B., ‘Internationaal Vocalistenconcours,’ Het Husigezin, October 10, 1955)

Eva Bornemann was born in Wuppertal, Germany, 1926. She first studied music science, and then became pupil of the singing teachers Lore Fischer and Eva Liebenberg. From 1949 to 1951 Eva Bornemann was engaged by the State Opera of Stuttgart, after which she launched a successful career as a concert singer. Following her victory in Den Bosch, the young widow's German career prospered, and extended to The Netherlands (Amsterdam), Belgium (Brussels and Antwerp), and France (Paris). She was considered an excellent Bach interpreter, and had successes in oratorios and church music works of Händel, Beethoven, Mozart, Verdi and Bruckner. She also appeared in contemporary works, and was a well-known Lieder singer. She appeared in many German radio broadcasts. Post career, Bornemann became a sought-after music teacher. From 1969 onwards, she was a Professor at Musikhochschule Hannover.

Luigi Nono: Il canto sospeso (III. Soprano, alto, and tenor solo)
Eva Bornemann (alt), Ilse Hollweg (s), Friedrich Lenz (t),
Orchestra and Chorus of Radio Cologne - Bruno Maderna (September 17, 1960, Cologne).

Jean Capiaux

For a first prizewinner, remarkably little is known about Paris born baritone Jean Capiaux. He was 25 years young at the time of his victory in Den Bosch, and studied singing with the famous Swiss baritone Charles Panzera, and by Louis Musy of the Paris Opera Comique. He graduated from the French Conservatory and obtained none less than 4 more diplomas in singing. At the time of the contest, he was married to the French chansonnière Fabienne Lore. On his career post the IVC victory, nothing is know.




  • 1955-ws11
  • 1955-ws22

The Dutch tenor Arjan Blanken (1924 – 2009) was a graduate of the Amsterdam Conservatory, which was also his city of birth. Arjan Blanken made his debut in 1954 in the Grote Kerk at Edam. He first appeared as oratorio- and Lieder-singer. He made his opera-debut as Fenton (Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor by Otto Nicolai) at the Zuid-Nederlandse Opera in 1957. He performed as lyric tenor opera-roles such as Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Mozart), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni by Mozart), count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini), Baron Kronthal (Der Wildschütz by Lortzing). The last mentioned opera had at the performance on June, 4 1958 as cast a.o. Erna Spoorenberg as Baronin Freimann, Guus Hoekman as Baculus and Aafje Heijnis as Nanette. More samples and photos of his art can be found here.

Bach: St.–Matthew Passion
'O Schmerz... Ich will bei meinen Jesu wachen'
Arjan Blanken (tenor)
Philips 422 520 NE.


'At the Gala Concert, Second Prize winner Albert van Haasteren was at an advantage, with his aria from Verdi’s Don Carlo, which made decidedly more impact than First Prize winner Jean Capiaux’ renditions of Händel and Berlioz, which left one wondering why he had been awarded a First Prize and Van Haasteren only a Second prize. For those who only come to see the concert, the final results might have appeared strange.’ (W.B., ‘Internationaal Vocalistenconcours,’ Het Husigezin, October 10, 1955)

Rotterdam born bass Albert van Haasteren is no longer a familiar name in the world of Dutch Opera, and yet he had a most prospering career... in Germany! Already in the year after winning the second prize at the 1955 IVC, he accepted an engagement at the Karlsruhe Opera House. From 1963 until 1983, he was engaged in Heidelberg, where he is a household name to date. He sang there occasionally even after his retirement. The neglect that befell him in the Netherlands is largely due to his absence here, although his stature is clear from his Sarastro in the world famous 1958 Concertgebouw broadcast of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (in which he also took on the reciter's part, a spoken role). This performance was not just legendary because of Fritz Wunderlich's Tamino, and Juliane Farkas's Queen of the Night, but also for the all-star Dutch cast surrounding them. With 'all star' we refer to the likes of Maria van Dongen (Pamina), Jan Derksen (Papageno) and Nel Duval (Papagena) in the principle roles. The surprises are however to be found in the minor parts, where the first IVC winner Annette de la Bije, Lucienne Bouwman, and Anny Delorie sang the Three Ladies. To top things off, the internationally renowned soprano Elly Ameling and mezzo Cora Canne-Meijer sang the Three Boys along with Thea van der Steen. The young Bernard Haitink conducted and the recording made it to an early official LP release on the obscure The Opera Society label. Van Haasteren sang again with the Concertgebouw in 1960 for a Don Giovanni performance with Erna Spoorenberg, in which he sang Leporello. Albert van Haasteren remained in Heidelberg after his retirement and still lives there with his wife.


Mozart: Die zauberflöte
'In diesen heil'gen Hallen' (Sarastro)
Albert van Haasteren (Sarastro), Concertgebouworkest – Bernard Haitink (May 24, 1958).

1955-w3Willem van der Sluys

'Ultimately there was also the Dutch lyric tenor Willem van der Sluys (Hilversum), who, among others, sang an aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni with immaculate breath control' (W.B., ‘Internationaal Vocalistenconcours,’ Het Husigezin, October 10, 1955)

'Willem van der Sluys, who started with an oratorio aria from Händel, followed by an aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni, was perhaps the liveliest artist of the four. He demonstrated ample breath control.' (Wouter Paap on Van der Sluys' International VOcal Competition D(IVC) Den Bosch Gala Concert appearance, De nieuwe Eeuw)

In 1955, Willem van der Sluys (1921-?) lived in Hilversum, and was a 34 yeas old member of the Groot Omroepkoor, which had given him some experience with performing in public and before the radio. He studied with Eva Lievenberg. Being married with drawing artist A. C. Gunters, he had no idea where his second prize would take him. Eventually, it reaped him a promotion to a solo career with the Dutch Opera, where he performed comprimario parts. He also appeared in oratorio. In 1965 he sang the tenor part in Bach's St.–Matthew's Passion in St.-Janskerk Gouda. It is unclear if the later conductor Willem van der Sluijs is our tenor in a second career. Willem van der Sluys' promising voice was fortunately preserved in a complete Rigoletto recording on the MMS label. Once cast away for second rate designs and 'local casts', these recordings are currently re-evaluated as fascinating testimonies of a time gone bye, that in retrospect was far more fascinating than was thought in the days when all the world craved for Callas recordings alone. Although Borsa is mainly a secondary character in Verdi's masterpiece, Van der Sluys gets some truly fine and famous solo lines during the opening section 'Della mia bella ingognita Borghese', as can be heard on our mp3 sample here:

Verdi: Rigoletto
'Della mia bella incognita Borghese'
 Willem van der Sluys (Borsa), Paul Conrad (Duca di Mantova), Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra – Walter Goehr
1955 25CM LP MMS-111

Information on and photos and recordings of any of the prizewinners, especially Jean Capiaux and Willem van der Sluys, but also Arjan Blanken, and Eva Bornemann are very welcome. Should you have such documents, you may contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.