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.
Young Talent prize ‘Toonkunst’ ƒ 1000 Study allowance for a Dutch singer who shows promise at any point in the competition (he or she doesn’t have to be a finalist).
Prize Foundation ‘Dutch Musical Interests’ ƒ 500 for the best performance of a Dutch composition
German Embassy Prize ƒ 500 for a young talent, of any nationality
Friends of Song Prize Five concert recitals with this Foundation, for a singer with special talent for the song repertoire.
KRO Catholic Broadcasting Corporation Prize VARA Broadcasting Corporation offers each First Prize winner a radio broadcast.
VARA Broadcasting Corporation Prize VARA Broadcasting Corporation selects their own pick of finalists to appear in a VARA Radio broadcast.
Summer Course Free admission to the vocal Summer Course in Vught
Honorary diploma All finalists receive a Honorary diploma
Not awarded
1st prize Adrienne Csengery Soprano  HU
2nd prize Miram Bowen Soprano  UK
2nd prize Cornelia Pop Soprano  RO
1st prize Not awarded    
2nd prize Vibeke Bjelke Mezzo-soprano DA
2nd prize Stefania Toczyska Mezzo-soprano PO
1st prize Not awarded    
2nd prize Antonius Nicolescu Tenor RO
2nd prize James Wagner Tenor USA
1st prize  Not awarded    
2nd prize Peter Tschaplik Bass GE
Penka Dilova Mezzo-soprano BU
Josef Baert Tenor BE
Robert Snijders Baritone NL
Elise Galama Mezzo-soprano NL
Mariette Kemmer Soprano LUX
Vibeke Bjelke, Cornelia Pop, Adrienne Csengery    
Adrienne Csengery Soprano HUN



Adrienne Csengery

  • Adrienne Csengery
  • Adrienne Csengery 2
  • Adrienne Csengery 3
  • Adrienne Csengery 4
  • Adrienne Csengery 5
  • Csengery at the 1973 IVC
  • In Kurtag
  • As Lauretta
  • In Haydn

‘At the International Vocal Competition Den Bosch I heard the Hungarian soprano Adrienne Csengery, who would eventually win the First Prize, as I had predicted. Back home, I switched on the television and saw her again, now in a program called ‘Nights in Budapest,’ where she sang an aria and a duet from Léhar’s Zigeunerliebe, much better than the American soprano that had previously appeared in Der Zigeunerbaron . With this performance, Csengery confirmed her remarkable versatility. Imagine that in den Bosch she had excelled already in an aria by Händel, a difficult aria by Mozart, a Lied by Schubert, an aria from Verdi’s La traviata, a murderous scene from Alban berg’s Lulu ánd an overwhelming aria from Menotti’s The telephone . In each of them she was far superior to any of her contesters, and now she also proved an outstanding talent in operetta, dancing, and frolicking on stage with a charm and a bravura that dwarfed most of what we are accustomed to in this genre.’ (Leo Riemens, De Telegraaf, September 1973)

Adrienne Csengery rose above herself during the finals, with intensely musical, well-managed interpretations of compositions by Mozart, Menotti, and Schubert. He voice is not the largest, but her timbre is round and warm.’ (NRC, September10, 1973)

The German/Hungarian soprano Adrienne Csengery (Amberg, Bavaria 1946) lived in the South Hungarian town of Szeged since age 5. Her musical talent was discovered even before she began primary school, and she had received special training in the local music school. At the age of seven she began to study playing the violin as well, and soon continued her schooling and musical studies in Budapest. The Hannig music School (directed by Pál Hannig and Alice Takáts) was an important experience for her, as was the Lórántffy street general school, which provided Csengery with regular choir work and, from the age of ten, with the chance to appear in solo roles.

She continued singing in the choir in the Erzsébet Szilágyi Secondary School in Budapest, and also attended the oboe classes at the Béla Bartók Specialist Music School. In 1963 the ‘Szilágyi Trio’ formed in the school, Csengery, Judit Várbíró and Andrea Zsadon won a Hungarian Television talent competition. From her childhood onwards, she prepared for a career as a solo singer; therefore she began to train her voice gradually, at the age of sixteen, as Miklós Kerényi’s pupil. Thanks to her broadly based musical education, she was immediately admitted to the Music Academy, where Éva Kutrucz taught her from age 18 onwards. Her work at the Academy with József Bakki was of great importance to her: he taught the most important roles in the opera repertoire and also brought her attention to the world of contemporary music. Eventually, she received her first invitation to sing in the Budapest Opera House, where she made her operatic debut in the role of Fanchette in Le nozze di Figaro. At the end of the sixties began her cooperation with József Réti and Lovro von Matacic, who invited her on numerous occasions to sing solo roles in Monteverdi’s Vespro, Gluck’s Orfeo, and Mozart’s Requiem. In 1970 she became solo singer of the Opera House, and a member of the Budapest Chamber Ensemble, which was the basis for performing the contemporary repertoire at that time. She appeared in a good number of German/Hungarian television productions, such as Haydn’s opera La canterina, directed by Felsenstein, in which she sang the leading part. Thus, she arrived to Den Bosch as an established Hungarian star, ad her subsequent victory there and a year later in the Fauré Singing Competition in Paris was hardly surprising. The accolades that accompanied Csengery’s IVC victory were confirmed in an impressive career. Still, her international career truly blossomed from the moment she won the IVC Den Bosch, following which she became a member of the Munich Opera House from 1974-1977. Meanwhile she appeared also in Glyndebourne, London, Milan, Bayreuth, Berlin, Hamburg, Palermo, Amsterdam, etcetera.


Csengery also became the inspiration for György Kurtág’s ‘Seven songs on poems by Dezső Tandori,’ ‘Scenes from a novel,’ ‘Attila József fragments,’ ‘Requiem der Versöhnung,’ and ‘Kafka-Fragmente.’ She recorded these works for Hungaroton, and released a further Hungaroton recital with Haydn ‘Canzonettas.’ The Concertgebouw saw her at least once, in 1973, when she appeared for a celebrated performance of Leoncavallo’s La bohème, featuring among others IVC 1972 winners Robert Currier Christesen and Marcel Vanaud as Rodolfo and Colline/Viscomte Paolo, surrounded by a Dutch cast with Lieuwe Visser, 1965 IVC Finalists Nico Boer {MAKE EMPTY PAGE IN DIVAS TENOR SECTION} and 1973 Finalist Wouter Goedhart. A once famous television appearance in Hungary was as Lauretta, in a 1975 telecast with Péter Kelen as Rinuccio and György Melis as Gianni, which we featured here as an outstanding sample of Csengery’s artistry.


Vibeke Bjelke

Vibeke Bjelke

‘Danish mezzo soprano Vibeke Bjelke rose to the challenge by surpassing her own achievements during the competition. She sang the complete Shéhérazade with great sensibility, inspiring also conductor Hein Jordans to give his poetic best’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Brabants Dagblad, September 1973)

‘She revealed a pleasant timbre, sang uncomplicated, with ease and clarity, as well as with fine understanding of the songs she interpreted.’ (NRC, September 10, 1973)

Danish mezzo-soprano Vibeke Bjelke (1943) seems to have enjoyed a limited advantage of her 1973 IVC award. She had an emerging career at the Royal Danish Opera, but from 1975 onwards, she trained as an actor at the National Theatre School 1975. After a time as an assistant director at the Royal Theatre she made her debut as a director in 1982, and three years late she was an established theatre director, specialized in contemporary pieces. Her career thrived in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. All the while she kept an avid interest in opera and music theatre, directing among others the 1991 West Side Story production at The Royal Opera 1991. In 2004 she was appointed head of the Opera Academy.

Miriam Bowen

Mariam Bowen

Mariam Bowen was born in Pen-y-groes, Dyfed, and studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music where she was awarded the Curtis Gold Medal for Opera. She made her professional debut at Glyndebourne and has since performed with the Welch National Opera, Kent, Cork City, Theatre Municipale Valence, Buxton Festival and Mid Wales Opera. She also participated in an enterprising animated opera series with Rigoletto and Turandot for S4C, which was televised in 1994, and then released onto video. Major concert work include Mahler’s ‘Symphony Nr. 2’ with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Simon Rattle, Händel’s ‘Roman Vespers’ with Richrd Hickox at St. David’s Hall, and Beethoven’s ‘Symphony Nr. 9’ with the Philharmonia Orchestra, brahms ‘Requiem’ at the Royal Festival Hall, Händel’s The Messiah with the English Chamber Orchestra at The Barbican, and Lloyd Webber’s Requiem with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. An accomplished recitalist, Bowen worked with the Songmaker’s Almanac under its director Graham Johnson at major London venues, throughout Britain and France. Her performances at British Festivals include the City of London Festival, South Bank Summer Music, Aldeburg Festival, Portsmouth Festival, and those in Cambridge, Cheltenham and Gloucester Three Choirs. She appeared in numerous BBC broadcasts with the Welsh Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Swiss/Italian Radio, and the Scottish National Orchestra. She worked with conductors such as Sir Charles Groves, Vernon Handley, Neeme Jarvi, and Roger Norrington. Television appearances included the HTV Light Opera series ‘The Story and the Song’ with Geraint Evans, Cais am Gan, Canwn Moliannwn, and a joint French/S4C/Radio 4 broadcast of Charpentier’s ‘Te Deum.’ In the mid 1990’s she also became a teacher of singing at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff.

Mariam Bowen2
Eric Coates: ‘Bird songs at eventide’
Mariam Bowen (soprano), Michael Pollock (piano), 1995 (CD Sain C2099 ‘The Songs of Miriam’)


Bowen’s recorded legacy includes a very fine 1995 recital CD, ‘The Songs of Miriam.’ It includes songs and Lieder by Schubert, Dvorak, Grieg, Richard Strauss, Liszt, Fauré, Wagner, Obradors, and Stravinsky, but her voice truly stands out in the English/Welsh language songs by Copland, Meiron Williams, Armstrong Gibbs, Eric Coates, and Roger Quilter.

Anotonius Nicoluscu

Antonius Nicolescu

Romanian tenor Antonius Nicolescu (August 17, 1946, Bucharest) studies at the prestigious ‘Ciprian Porombescu’ Conservatory with Mihail Stirbei. His stage debut in the National Opera there took place in 1971, as Vladimir in Borodin’s Prince Igor. Ever since he has been the first lyrical tenor at he Bucharest Opera House, and his early success was confirmed with the Second Prize at the IVC Den Bosch 1973, which by now appeared to be a sort of extended final ‘practice’ exam for ‘Ciprian Porombescu’ Conservatory trainees. In addition, Romanian authorities also seemed to be keen on launching their best young vocalists into lucrative international careers, of which the Ceaușescu regime then took 90% commission (said 1969 IVC Winner, Romanian soprano Maria Slatinaru).

Antonius Nicolescu mp3
Verdi: La forza del destino ‘Amici in vita e in morte’
Antonius Nicolescu (Alvaro), Oto Dauber (Carlo), Saarbrücken Opera - Erich Waechter (conductor), April 18, 1991.


Nicolescu’s path subsequently went as could be expected, with exceptional success in the National Opera of Athens, the State Theatre of Darmstadt, and the Berlin State Opera. From 1984 onward, he was engaged at the Essen Opera House, from which he would make numerous guest appearances elsewhere, among them in Heidelberg. A broadcast from Saarbrucken 1991 appearance as Alvaro in Verdi’s La forza del destino with IVC 1972 Winner Gheorghe Emil Crăsnaru was preserved. In 1993 he appeared as Alfredo in the Wallonian Opera, Belgium.

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ch’s Les contes d’Hoffmann. His celebrated roles were Verdi’s Duke in Rigoletto and Alfredo in La traviata (Essen 1994), Nadir in Bizet’s Les pêcheurs des perles, Gerald in Delibes’ Lakmé, the title role in Gounod’s Faust, Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Paquale, from Mozart Don Ottavio inDon Giovanni and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Lenski in Tchaikovski’s Evegeni Onegin, Almaviva in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Puccini’s Rodolfo in La Bohème. An interesting rarity in his repertoire was his 1995 City Theatre Bern appearance as Gösta Berling in Zandonai’s fascinating opera I cavalieri di Ekebù.’ He also appeared there as Pinkerton in Puccini’sMadama Butterfly. In Hannover he also sang Lionel in Flotow’s Martha. On Romanian television he appeared as Fenton in Verdi’s Falstaff. He recorded for the Romanian State recording company Electrecord.

Cornelia Pop

Cornelia Pop

‘Cornelia Pop sang better and better the further into the competition she got. During the Gala Concert this Romanian soprano was both vocally and in terms of dramatic qualities a singer to be reckoned with in Massenet’s ‘Il est doux’ from Hérodiade.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Brabants Dagblad, September 1973)

Little to nothing is known here of Romanian soprano Cornelia Pop, except that she is no longer among us (death date unknown). She had a very promising career at the Bucharest National Opera as well as in the Romanian province. Romanian critic Costin Popa told me she also sang in Germany, in theatres such as Mannheim. Unfortunately, her only official recording, as Ileana in Nicolae Bretan’s opera Horia fails to say a word on the singers in an otherwise most elaborate 200+ page booklet. Bretan sort of created a National Romanian opera style with his five operas composed between 1921 and 1939, even though his importance was only recognized after communism was besieged. Pop’s election to recreate the role of Ileana testifies for her importance in 1997, the year of recording.

Cornelia Pop mp3
Bretan: Horia ‘Da, fata lui, nefericită fată!... Hoţ, tatal meu?!’
Cornelia Pop (Ileana), Tomanian Opera Bucharest – Cornel Trăilescu (conductor), 1997 (CD Nimbus N 5513/4)

Peter Tschaplik

  • Peter Tschaplik
  • Peter Tschaplik2
  • Peter Tschaplik IVC 1973
  • In concert (© 2011 Ag. Baganz)

‘A dedicated singer, with feeling for the audience.’ (The 1973 IVC Jury)

Peter Tschaplik (1942) studied under professor Elsbeth Plehn at the college of music ‘Carl Maria von Weber’ in Dresden from 1961 till 1967. In Vienna his professor was professor Hans Hotter. Tschaplik won numerous prizes at international competitions of music, among them at the Robert Schumann- competition of singing in Geneva in 1969, the Johann Sebastian Bach- competition in 1972 and at the international competitions IVC in Den Bosch and the ‘Francesco Viñas’ Singing Competition in Barcelona. By that time he was already well into his career; from 1967 till 1978 he worked as a lyrical baritone on stages in Gera. After that he has moved with his wife the actress Otti Planer to Berlin, where he continued his career as a free-lance artist. He has had guest performances at the German state opera in Berlin and he has been on concert tours with the Berlin symphony orchestra. He performed in Landestheater Dessau, Volksoper Vienna, Nationaltheater Weimar, and the Komischen Oper Berlin. Tschaplik also toured various countries in Europe and Asia, and in 1980 he was awarded the title ‘Chamber singer.’ From 1981 till 1991 he annually lead courses for poetry of the Meistersingers in Klagenfurt, and from 1983 onwards he taught at the college of music ‘Hans Eisler’ in Berlin. In 1988 he was appointment to give master classes. In 1996 he founded a private singing academy in Berlin, which he continued in Gera, to where he moved back with Planer in 2012. His work as a teacher has manifested itself in the success of his students. Within the last years five award-winners were at international competitions in Vienna, Karlovy Vary, Leipzig, Cologne and Berlin. Prof. Peter Tschaplik became a member of the Federal Association of German Singing Teachers.

Stefania Tosczyska

Stefania Toczyska

‘The young Polish singer Stefania Tosczyska brilliantly worked her way through the difficut aia from Stravinsky’s Oedipus rex.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Brabants Dagblad, September 1973)

Stefania Tosczyska counted as one of Polish greatest singers in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. She finished her vocal studies with honors at the State Higher School of Music in Gdansk, where she was the pupil of Barbara Iglikowska. From 1971 onwards, she started winning prizes at vocal competitions around Europe, first in Toulouse, then in Paris (1972), and finally she was awarded the Second prize at the IVC Den Bosch (among mezzos, no First Prize was awarded). She made her operatic debut as Carmen, and was also very successful in the title role of Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalilah. For a number of years her career thrived in the Baltic State Opera, in Basel, and in the Vienna State Opera, where she sang among others with Nicolai Gedda.

Stefania Toczyska mp3
Alessandro Scarlatti: Nacqui a’ sospiri e al pianto ‘Finale’
Stefania Tosczyska (mezzo soprano), Capella Arcis Varsoviensis – Marek Sewen (conductor) (LP Muza NX 1506)


In 1977 she took part in the Polish recording of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov under Jerzy Semkov. She was regularly appearing on Polish radio and television, and gave numerous concerts abroad, among others in Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the Soviet Union, East ad West Germany, Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, and Barcelona (among others she sang there a preserved performance of Laura in La Gioconda with José Carreras and 1972 IVC winner Patricia Payne as La Cieca). In the late 1970’s she also started appearing in the USA, most notably in San Francisco, from where we present a video fragment of her Laura in La gioconda opposite Luciano Pavarotti (she would repeat this role in Barcelona 1984 with José Carreras).

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Her Metropolitan opera debut took place in 1988, as Marfa in Mussorgsky’s Khovanchina, followed by further performances there as Amneris in Aida (with Plácido Domingo as her 1989 broadcast Radamès), Azucena in Il trovatore, Marina in Boris Godunov, Ulrica in Un ballo in Maschera (with Pácido Domingo as Riccardo), Jezibaba in Dvorak’s Rusalka, Princess di Bouillon in Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur,

James Wagner

  • James Wagner
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  • James Wagner IVC 1973
  • Requiem 1993

‘James Wagner from the USA was a class apart with the others in terms of technique, lyrical feeling, musicality and intelligence. If he will keep this level in the finals, he is one of the favorites of this competition. His specialty is opera, but his interpretation of ‘Phidyle’ will not lightly be forgotten.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, Brabants Dagblad, September 1973)

American tenor James Wagner (1950, New Orleans) first trained as a pianist, actually achieving an emerging concert career when he started training his voice at the Rochester University. By 1971, a Fulbright Stipendium brought him to the Musikhochschule Vienna, and by 1973 he started testing his progress in vocal competitions such as the IVC Den Bosch, where he landed a Second Prize in the tenor category. It proved a starting point for a career that stated in earnest with his engagement at the Frankfurt Opera House, where he sang from 1975-76. From 1976-1980 he was active in the State Opera Kassel, followed by a guest contract with the Hamburg State Opera House 1979-1981, and the City Opera Basel from 1979-1982. By 1981 his native country had discovered his European achievements and the New York City opera engaged him, likewise in the 1981-82 period. From 1983-83 he was also singing in the Viennese Volksoper, and then until 1988 in Theater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich. His stage repertoire ranged form Händel’s Xerxes to Belmonte in Mozart’sDie Entführung aus dem Serail, Giasone in Cherubini’s Medea to Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Almaviva in Rossini’sIl barbiere di Siviglia to Edgardo in Puccini’s La bohème, and from the title role in Auber’s Fra Diavolo to Henze’s Die Bassariden. He sang performances of these parts among others in Bern (1986), Teatro Comunale Bologna (1987), Teatro La Fenice (1990), and in Greece. In 1993 he sang the title role in Rossini’s Otello in Braunschweig, and Admeto in Gluck’s Alceste in Ludwigshafen.

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On the concert platform Wagner was in high demand from the mid 1970’s until the turn of the century, with one of his finest achievements perhaps being his appearance in Mozart’s ‘C-moll Messe’ at the Salzburger Festspiele 1979. Other celebrated appearances were his appearance in Beethoven’s ‘Symphony Nr. 9’ with the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig under Kurt Masur, his singing of the tenor solo in Berlioz’ Requiem in Vienna 1995, and his last minute substitution for an indisposed Luciano Pavarotti in a 1993 televised performance of Verdi’s Requiem from Munich:

Mr. Pavarotti canceled virtually at the last moment. Coughing his way through a pre-concert interview on national television, he said he had contracted the ‘grip.’ On entering the giant tent like hall built for the 1972 Olympics, holders found themselves confronted with an electronic sign that said: ‘Verdi's Requiem goes on. Because Pavarotti is sick James Wagner sings. We ask your understanding.’ The fans were not inclined to understand. ‘The people were angry, bitter and disappointed,’ reported Munich's major newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung. Some reportedly used unseemly language. Some were downright rude. Even though Mr. Pavarotti was safe in the Presidential suite of the Sheraton Hotel in Munich, people stamped, whistled and jeered. The start of the concert was delayed perhaps five minutes. About half the audience either walked out or never took their seats. Many demanded their money back. Those who left got it. People who stayed received a 30 percent discount. James Wagner, a black American tenor teaching in Lübeck, was pressed into service, literally yanked out of the shower, according to the Munich paper. He was praised for his ‘bravery.’ One critic called him an ‘adequate’ substitute for Mr. Pavarotti. Another said he showed certain nervousness. He seemed confident and at ease on television, often singing without looking at his score. ‘The audience celebrated him with frenetic applause,’ said the Berliner Morgenpost.’ (Carl Schoettler, Baltimore Sun, January 26, 1993)

In terms of broadcast recordings, there is also his appearance in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis from Padova 1995, with Mara Zampieri, Gloria Banditelli under Claudio Scimone. He was appointed professor at the Lübeck Conservatory in 1992. His discography includes Kienzl’s Don Quixote (CPO), Verdi & co’s ‘Messa per Rossini’ (1989 Haenssler), Berlioz’ Requiem (1993 Kontra Punkt), JC Bach’s Amadis des Gaules (1990 Haenssler)


Elise Galama (?? – NL)

Elisa Galama

Very little is currently known Elisa Galama, except that she appeared in Händel’s Te Deum Laudamus, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw 1974, along with IVC 1954 winner Annette de la Bije. In 1978 Galama appeared there again in concert, which suggests that she had a thriving concert career in the 1970’s, on addition to which she was in the Opera Class of the Dutch National Opera. There as well as in the ensemble of the Dutch national Opera she sang a number of comprimario roles between 1975 and 1983. Her chronology there starts with Barones in The good soldier Schweik, A lady in Prokofiev’s The gambler, Giovanna in Rigoletto, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Gasa in Katja Kabanova, Don Ettore in Haydn’s La cantarina, 2nd Witch inDido and Aeneas; 1976: Le loup/Ainée in Milhaud’s Les malheurs d’Orphée (1976); 1977 Lady Agathe in Hans Kox’ Dorian Gray, 2nd Magd in Elektra, Pastuchina in Jenufa, Fidalma in Il matrimonio segreto, Rosa in Donizetti’s Il campanello, Lady Conan Doyle in Peter Schat’s Houdini a circus opera (world premiere); 1978/1981 Mother in Hänsel und Gretel; 1982: Polina in Pique dame, Olga in Evgeni Onegin, Lucia in Cavalleria rusticana; 1983 Frau Reich in Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor.

Should you have additional information/photo’s/recordings of her, we would appreciate it if you contacted us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Robert Snijders (bass – NL)

Nothing is known to us about Dutch bass Robert Snijders, except that he continued singing until well in the 1980’s, given that he performed Silvano in Un ballo in maschera in Enschede, The Netherlands, with Opera Forum in 1987. Should you have information/photo’s/recordings of her, we would appreciate it if you contacted us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Mariette Kemmer

Mariette Kemmer

‘I grew up with music, music, and more music… My father was a composer, my three brothers and sisters all studied music…’ (Mariette Kemmer in Kulturissimo, 1998)

Kemmer started studying cello at the Conservatory of Luxembourg, then she trained her voice. She graduated from the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Düsseldorf, and attended the Opera Studio of Brussels. She debuted at De Munt in Brussels, where she started as Melisande, Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Micaela in Carmen. Gradually she was invited on most European scenes. Stage directors Jean-Claude Auvray and Patrice Chéreau trained the actress in her. After Gerard Mortier rearranged the system of De Munt, kremmer continued as a free lance soprano, and embarked on a career that would bring her to opera houses throughout Europe, more than fifty in total (!). These include the Operas of Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dresden, Zurich, Basel, Lausanne, Bern, Grand Théâtre de Genève, the operas Verona, Avignon, Montpellier, Nice, Nantes, Nancy, Strasbourg, TRM Brussels Opera of Wallonia, the Flemish Opera, Opera Dublin, and the Festivals in Aix -en- Provence, Bregenz, and Wexford, among others. Her operatic repertoire includes the great Mozart operas, and then Marguerite, Micaela, Antonia (Les contess d’Hoffmann), Hero (Beatrice and Benedict), Anna (La dame blanche), Mélisande, Marcelline (Fidelio), Tatiana (Evgeni Onegin) and Countess Madeleine (Capriccio). In March 1998 she sang Lucile in Von Einem’s Danton’s Tod in Liège, where she would sing regularly for 16 years in a row.

Mariette Kemmer mp3
Puccini: Turandot ‘Signore ascolta’
Mariette Kemmer (Liù), Nancy, date unknown.


She has also performed in concerts and recitals in Vienna, Paris, Prague, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Antwerp , Nancy, Soissons, Luxembourg, the Bregenz Festival, Echternach and Montpellier Radio-France.

  • Mariette Kemmer ss
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In song she sang Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, Strauss, Wolf, Duparc, Chausson, Fauré, Messiaen, and in concert Händel, Haydn, Bach, Bruckner, Mahler and Honegger. She recorded among others a CD with Joseph Jongen’s songs, and another one with Honegger’s Semiramis. In additon, she is represented on the anthology of the Metz Opéra. Since 1997, she also teaches singing in Liège.

Should you have additional information/photo’s/recordings of Mariette Kemmer, we would appreciate it if you contacted us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Josef Baert

Belgian tenor Josef Baert, son of an Austrian mother and a Belgian father, had just retrained from baritone to tenor at the Brussels Conservatory, when he entered the 1973 IVC Den Bosch. The Summer Course was well awarded, since Baert subsequently embarked on a successful career as a Lieder singer, together with his wife, the Bulgarian pianist Roumiana Stantcheva. Baert completed his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna. His operatic career as a lyric tenor resulted in engagements to sing Papageno, Almaviva (Mozart), Figaro (Rossini), Dr. Falke (Strauss), and Creonte and (Haydn) at the opera houses of Trier, Antwerp, Ghent, and The Netherlands. He gave recitals in Belgium and abroad, specializing in Bach, and Orff’s Carmina Burana. His voice was frequently heard on the Belgian radio. Baert also made some recital LP recordings, among them Schubert’s ‘Die Schöne Müllerin,’ and Brahms ‘Die schöne Magelone.’

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Brahms: Die schöne Magelone ‘Muss es eine Trennung geben’
Josef Baert (tenor), Roumania Stancheva (piano) (LP Pavane ADW7120 ‘Die schöne Magelone’)


Vibeke Bjelke (see biography above)

Adrienne Szengery (see biography above)

Cornelia Pop (see biography above)


Penka Dilova

Penka DilovaPenka Dilova ranked among of our great mezzo-soprano. Hers was a rare, beautiful voice with firm, rounded tone. Her simplicity exuded warmth and spontaneity, not only in vocal terms, but also in her personality. A similar mezzo-soprano has not emerged from Bulgaria since her death in 1993.’ (Ognjan Stamboliev, ‘Penka Dilova - Singer on a European scale / 65 years of the artist,’ 2008)

Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Penka Dilova (Sofia, February 18, 1943 - 1998) discovered her voice in high school, went to the Conservatory where she became a pupil of Prof. Elias Iosifov and his assistant, Chavdar Hadziev. The latter shaped her as a singer. Her mezzo-soprano format had a beautiful, warm, and original timbre. It was even throughout the two and a half octaves it encompassed, and had exceptionally resonant depth, with a glamorous soprano extension on the top, when required. Music came natural to her, and she had great stage presence, which, together with her Bulgarian background (famous for bassos and mezzos), seemed to destined her for a global career. Post Conservatory, Dilova began working as a soloist in the ensemble of the army, singing cantata and oratorio repertoire. Her operatic debut was with the Student Opera Theatre as Amastra is Händel’s Xerxes.

At the fifth Bulgarian competition for singers and instrumentalists in Sofia in May 1969, she received an Honorary Diploma (which led her biographer Ognjan Stamboliev to accuse his native juries – plural – of incompetence and injustice…). Regardless, she was invited to Germany, Hungary and France. In the latter country, she debuted in Prokofiev’s Love for three Oranges, Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Dalilah, and Massenet’s Werther. In Germany and Hungary she sang Azucena in Il trovatore with a cast that included José Carreras and Julia Varadi. Upon her return she started a long-term commitment with the Bulgarian Ruse Opera. Given her experience and her success at that point her Honorary Diploma in Den Bosch 1973 is indeed seems odd – was she nervous? Or indisposed? Since it seems hardly plausible that a singer with her experience could not compete on top level at that point in her career. In the 1974/1975 Ruse Opera season she sang Carmen, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, Bertha in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Dalilah in Samson et Dalilah, Azucena in Il trovatore, and Efrosina in Liskov’s Mamchil. Princess Eboli in Don Carlo followed on tour in Bucharest. Then also Fidalma in Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto, and Amneris in Aida. In 1977 she created Kostenica in Janacek’s Jenufa in Bulgaria at the Sofia Opera. In Varna she was celebrated as Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana, a triumph that she repeated at the Mascagni Festival in Barcelona.

Penka Dilova mp3
Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana ‘Voi lo sapete’
Penka Dilova (Santuzza), 1970’s Bulgarian radio recording


Her repertoire ranged from Mozart and Cimarosa via Rossini to Donizetti, Verdi, Mascagni, Gounod, Mussorgsky, Britten, Menotti, Janacek, Konstantin Iliev and Lazar Nikolov. Besides opera she also sang chamber cantatas and oratorios, and the song repertoire of Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Borodin, Sviridov, and Bulgarian composers such as Pipkov, Goleminov, Raitchev, Hadziev, or Sagaev. Of the latter group, she created a good number of compositions. She was the favorite singer of composer Parashkev Hadziev, who entrusted the difficult and impressive role of Ermiara in his opera the year 893, and Theodora/Sarah in Maria Desislava. Alexander Raitchev wanted her for Raina in Alarm and Konstantin Iliev composed the Fairy part for her in Deer kingdom (1976). She was a wonderful mother in Hadziev Crazy Gigya. Further mentioning deserve her comincal interpretations, such as Bertha Fidalma, Frau Reich in Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (which she sang with IVC 1972 finalist Stefan Dimitrov as Falstaff), the mezzo part in Der Zigeunerbaron, and Cecilia in Die Czardaszfürstin (1997). She was a tragedienne as Madame Flora in the first Bulgarian production of Giancarlo Menotti’s The medium in 1980. With her stage presence she also made the best of comprimario parts such as Alice inLucia di lammermoor, Emilia in Otello, Madlon Andrea Chénier, Nyanyata in Evgeni Onegin, or Agnes in Kyurkchiyski Eula. Her biographer judged her more than worthy of the National Opera House, but ‘for various reasons’ she was never given a long term contract there, even though guest appearances as the 1977 Bulgarian creation of Kostelnica in Janacek’s Jenufa were a clamorous success. Thus, she sang regularly in Plovdiv, and Stara Zagora in Bulgaria. Tragically, a car accident in 1981 rendered her crippled, broke her career and ultimately shortened her life.