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, a KRO Radio broadcast.
2nd prize ƒ 1.000, Honorary diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra.
Prize Foundation ‘Dutch Musical Interests’ ƒ 1.000 for the best performance of a Dutch composition
Young Talent prize ‘Toonkunst’ ƒ 500 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).
KRO Catholic Broadcasting Corporation Prize KRO 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.
Friends of Song Prize Five concert recitals with this Foundation, for Dutch singer with special talent for the song repertoire.
Honorary diploma Honorary diploma
Nadezhda Vainer Alto/Mezzo RU
1st prize La Verne Williams Soprano  USA
2nd prize Ruzanna Lissitzian Soprano  RU
2nd prize Valerie Popova Soprano  BUL
1st prize Nadezhda Vainer Alto/Mezzo RU
1st prize Not awarded
2nd prize Berthold Possemeyer Tenor GE
1st prize Not awarded  
2nd prize Andrew Knight Baritone UK
Kathrin Graf Soprano SWISS
Gwynneth Griffiths Alto UK
László Polgár Bass HU
Hein Meens Tenor NL
Alexander Offenberg Baritone NL
Alexander Offenberg Baritone NL
László Polgár Bass HU
Berthold Possemeyer Tenor GE
Anne Haenen Soprano NL
Anne Haenen Soprano NL
Ruzanna Lissitzian Soprano RU
Ingeborg Most Soprano GE
Nadezhda Vainer Alto/Mezzo RU




Nadezhda Vainer

Nadezhda Vainer

‘Nadezhda Vainer was the best among mezzos, she excelled with her artistry in Mussorgsky’s ‘Lullaby’ and De Falla’s ‘Polo.’ Her versatility was demonstrated in her singing of ‘Erbarme dich’ from Bach’s Mattheus Passion.’

‘Nadezhda has doubtlessly been screened at least twice before she was allowed to travel from Leningrad (St. Petersburg) to den bosch, but she fully merited her First prize in the mezzo-soprano category. She impressed even more with a fascinating reading of a song by the little known Russian composer Schedrin than she already had with Thursday’s Mussorgsky and Bach.’ (Hein Zomerdijk on the IVC Den Bosch Finals, September 1974)

Nadezhda Vainer couldn’t hold her tears when she heard that she was also awarded the Great Prize of the Cirty of Den Bsch’s Winner of the Competition, and she lived up to the challenge at the concluding Gala Concert, although there La Verne Williams was certainly on a par with Vainer. Some critics also noted that her posture was a handicap for her future, which may have played a part indeed. While we know that she remained active in singing in Russia, little to no details of her future career are known to us currently. Her 1974 IVC Concert appearance currently also provides the only samples of her voice as such.

Nadezhda Vainer mp3
Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila ‘Amour! Viens aider ma faiblesse’
Nadezhda Vainer (Dalilah), Brabant Orchestra – André Rieu Sr (conductor), IVC Gala Concert, Brabant Province House Den Bosch, September 11, 1974.

Rather than just place her among those Great Prize winners who failed to live up to the expectations, we point here to the difficulties of interpreting Russian career is the heydays of the Brezhnev regime in the Soviet Union. How it is that some Bolshoi stars such as Irina Arkhipova and later Vladimir Atlantov could perform in the West, while all others remained in the shades of the iron Curtain is unclear, but de facto we know only very few Russian singers of the 1970-1990’s period.

Any additional information onNadezhda Vainer’s career, including photos and recordings are most welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


La Verne Williams

La Verne Williams

‘The beautiful La Verne Williams proved the operatic talent of the day, and gave us a fantastic Fauré on top.’ (Hein Zomerdijk writing on the semi finals)

‘The colored American soprano La Verne Williams from California surpassed her direct concurrent with an artistically dominant personality, an immaculate rendition, and versatile musicality. In addition, she is blessed with a most beautiful timbre. Many thought these qualities sufficient to merit the Great Prize of the City of Den Bosch, but the Jury kept it with awarding her the First prize in the soprano category.’ (Unknown critic, ‘Rusinnen stelen show op vocalistenconcours,’ September, 1974)

‘A public favorite was the North-American soprano La Verne Williams, whose features were rather Latin-American. She touched the audience with a sublime performance of a Gerschwin aria, while she was equally marvelous in Verdi and Fauré.’ (NRC Handelsblad, ‘Russin wint vocalistenconcours,’ September 9, 1974)

‘For Miss Williams there was the highest honor, and it was under thunderous applause that this favorite of the audience collected her First Prize in the Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius category.’ (‘Dames stalen show of Internat. Vocalistenconcours,’ unknown newspaper, September 1974)

‘The star of the evening, the true prima donna, was the American La Verne Williams. She surpassed her previous achievements by far. Her arias from operas by Puccini, Verdi and Gershwin were each a delightful experience, utterly touching. It was in her that one heard a truly great talent, and artist that will doubtlessly find her wat to the main stages of the World.’ (Chris de Jong-Stolle, ‘Solistenconcours in provinciehuis,’ September 12, 1974)


Apart from winning First Prize the International Vocal Competition in Den Bosch 1974, American soprano La Verne Williams also won the George London Awards before she embarked on a career that brought her international acclaim. She appeared among others at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, the London Coliseum, Lyon Opera House, the Metropolitan Opera House New York and the Almeida Opera. She specialized in late German romantic repertoire, and appears as an utterly charming Fatima in a 1987-filmed version of Weber’s Oberon from the Edinburgh Festival. In addition she recorded the mezzo soprano part in the 1986 studio recording of Bernstein’s West Side Story with Michael Ball and Barbara Bonney. She appears in the 1995 recording of Nicholas Lens’ Flamma Flamma (The Fire Requiem). Among her broadcast recordings in circulation among collectors we mention her in the title role of Donizetti’s Gemma di Vergy from Belfast, 1978, the soprano in a 1981 filmed production of Gershwin’s Blue Monday from Swiss Radio 1981 (also released on CD), the Native Woman in Louis Gruenberg’s The Emperor Jones from Ancona’s Teatro delle Muse 2009, and Maria in Gerschwin’s Porgy & Bess from Paris, 2010.

Given La Verne Williams' prominent career, surprisingly little info is available on her. Should you be able to help us with providing more biographical info/photos or recordings, please contact us as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Andrew Knight

Andrew Knight

‘The British bass-baritone Andrew Knight was the first true discovery in this voice category. With a real voice and a beautiful timbre he proved very convincing in an aria of Händel, while being very musical, controlled and sensitive in songs by Mahler and Benjamin Britten.








Andrew Knight mp3
John Stanley: Arcadia ‘With joy the parent loves to trace…’
Andrew Knight (baritone), Parley of Instruments – Roy Goodman (conductor), London, July 1986.


NRC Handelsblad thought that English baritone Andrew Knight sang very cultivated, although he was still a bit too modest to make himself noticed. Both the 1974 IVC Gala Concert and the few preserved broadcasts featuring his voice later in his career reveal that he maintained his cultivated style. His instrument also carries well, and it has an agreeable vocal color. While he may not have been able to compete with today’s ‘barihunks,’ he was an outstanding oratorio baritone, which is confirmed in his solos from John Stanley’s 1762 dramatic pastoral Oratorio Arcadia in a 1986 BBC broadcast. Should you be able to help us with providing more biographical info/photos or recordings on Andrew Knight, please contact us as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ruzanna Lisitsian

Ruzanna Lisitsian

‘First time Jury member Artur Eisen must have been very proud with his compatriot Ruzanna Lisitzian’s artistic performance during the semi finals. This both optically and vocally gracious singer was a class apart among sopranos in terms of timbre and her understanding of music. If she can keep this level she demonstrated in songs by Mahler and Granados, as well as in an aria from Mozart’s Così fan tutte, then she may hope for the Aaltje Noordewier Reddingius Prize.’ (Johan van Dongen, Russische sopraan blinkt uit,’ September 7, 1974)

‘The Russian soprano Ruzanna Lisitsian presented herself with the aria ‘Come scoglio’ from Così fan tutte , there was no one who doubted she would be a finalist. Such a souplesse, such a balanced refinement in her musical approach, such vocal culture, and an instinct for the stage that was all the more stunning since she had noted ‘Song’ as her specialty. That too, she proved to master to perfection in the fatalistic Mahlerian sound spectrum and a naughty-coquettish song by Granados; all of which she achieved in alien languages to her, German, Spanish, and Italian!’ (Hein Zomerdijk writing on the semi finals)

Ruzanna Lisitsian sang Bach’s ‘Jauchzet Gott’ with astonishing ease and continued with surpassing herself in songs by Glinka and Granados.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, writing on the Finals, September 1974)

‘Apparently the Jury Judged Ruzanna Lisitsian too young for a First Prize, that she would certainly have merited. Most striking in her voice was the glorious sound throughout all registers, her great technical accomplishments and her intense musicality. On top of that, she had the natural charm that her colleague Nadezhda Vainer lacked.’ (NRC Handelsblad, ‘Russin wint vocalistenconcours,’ September 9, 1974)

Ruzanna Lisitsian sang warm and pure in Mozart. In a most touching Mahler song, she proved her versatility.’ (Chris de Jong-Stolle on the IVC Concert, ‘Solistenconcours in Privinciehuis,’ September 12, 1974)

Surprisingly little is known about Ruzanna Lisitsian (born May 9, 1945) except that she was the daughter of the world famous Russian/Armenian baritone Pavel Lisitsian (the first and only Soviet artist to have sung at the Metropolitan Opera New York, as Amonasro in a singly performance of Aida in 1960) and her aunt was the equally famous mezzo soprano Zara Dolukhonova, a fact that apparently completely eluded the Dutch press in 1974. In the early seventies, she appeared in a trio with her twin brother Ruben, and sister Karina (an opera singer in her own right), which occasionally became a quartet when their father, still singing in the 1970’s, would join in. Ruzanna Lisitsian’s vocal youth was not only influenced by her father, but also by her aunt, the Armenian mezzo-soprano Zara Dolukhanova, who was a star on her own in the Soviet Union. At the 1974 edition of the IVC Den Bosch she made a very favorable impression, and most critics agreed that she would have merited a First Prize, which the Jury apparently did not give her because of ‘her age,’ or rather because she became the victim of the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes there, since the Russian Jury member Arthur Eisen wanted a Russian Great Prize of the City of Den Bosch winner, which meant that the American La Verne Williams had to settle for a First prize only, which eventually became subject of negotiations that too two and a half hours, during which Eisen got his Russian Great Prize winner among mezzos, while Lisitsian had to settle for the Second Prize behind the superior La Verne Williams, who might otherwise have won the Great Pize, with Lisitsian having been rpomted to the First Prize range…


Ruzanna Lisitsian mp3
Mahler: Rückert Lieder ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’
Ruzanna Lisitsian (soprano), Brabant Orchestra – André Rieu Sr (conductor), IVC Gala Concert, Brabant Province House Den Bosch, September 11, 1974.


We know that Ruzanna had an important career as an operatic soprano in the Soviet Union, and on the concert platform (she participated in a 2011 commemoration for her father), but other than that, all info is lacking. Should you be able to help us with providing more biographical info/photos or recordings, please contact us as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Valeria Popova

  • Valeria Popova
  • Valeria Popova 2
  • Valeria Popova 3
  • Valeria Popova 1974 IVC Den Bosch

‘The versatile Valeria Popova will compete with her compatriot Nikolina Grigorova, who will likely become the great operatic star of the 21st IVC. Popova truly excelled in an aria from Madama Butterfly.’ (Johan van Dongen, Russische sopraan blinkt uit,’ September 7, 1974)

‘The Bulgarian Valeria Popova made good use of her artistry in arias that suited her to perfection.’ (NRC Handelsblad, ‘Russin wint vocalistenconcours,’ September 9, 1974)

‘Second Prize winner Valeria Popova surprised with with a perfectly rendered Mozart aria, and then proved that the coloratures of Gounod’s Faust also did not pose any problems to her.’ (Chris de Jong-Stolle on the IVC Concert, ‘Solistenconcours in Privinciehuis,’ September 12, 1974)

Bulgarian soprano Valeria Popova (1947) was the daughter of concert pianist Vera Popova and violinist/conductor Sacha Popov, who first trained Valeria as a singer. At the conservatory Sofia she late studied with Loëli Daskalova and Cristo Brambaroff. Following her studies in Sofia, she went to Italy for a two years apprenticeship with the great Italian soprano Gina Cigna. Popova’s debut was as Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the National Opera Sofia, following which she won a great number of competitions, starting from the First Prize at the Sofia National Competition. In 1973 she triumphed at the Prague Musical Spring Contest, and in 1974 she won Second Prize at the International Vocal Competition in Den Bosch. If the prize was already a motivation, or if she liked travelling to the West that much, fact is that she continued participating in West European vocal competitions until 1977, which brought her further victories in Paris and Verviers (1975), and then in Oostende and again Sofia (1977). From 1971-76 she was engaged at the Plovidiv Opera House, and from 1976 onwards she became a star at the National Opera in Sofia. All the prizes in the mentioned vocal competition had meanwhile resulted in an emerging international guest performance career that would take her to the Soviet Union, Germany, Belgium, Romania and Cuba. In 1986 she participated in the Maggio Musicale Fiorentina in Berio’s La vera storia, in 1988 she sang Tosca at the Opera North Leeds.

Valeria Popova mp3
Verdi: Otello ‘Ave Maria… Salce, Salce….’
Valeria Popova (Desdemona), 1970’s.


Among her most important roles we mention Violetta in Verdi’s La traviata, Massenet’s Manon, the Countess in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Janacek’s Jenufa, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Leonora in Verdi’s La forza del destino, Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff. She also sang in a number of Bulgarian operas. In addition to her operatic career, she also had an important concert career. Valeria Popova is the mother of the famous soprano Alexandra Pendachantska. Should you be able to help us with providing more biographical info/photos or recordings on Valeria Popova, please contact us as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Berthold Possemeyer

Berthold Possemeyer

‘The best tenor was certainly Berthold Possemeyer from Germany; he sounded rather baritonal, but proved very musical in songs by Badings and Mendelssohn, and very convincing in an aria by Monteverdi.’ (Johan van Dongen, September 7, 1974)

‘With his semi finals rendition of a Monteverdi song, Possemeyer already gave his calling card in terms of vocal intelligence, musicality and taste. His baritonal timbre may not be the most intrinsically beautiful, but it is well cultivated.’ (Hein Zomerdijk on the finals, September 1974).

NRC Handelsblad noted that Berthold Possemeyer (1945), with 23 the youngest participant at the 1974 edition of the IVC Den Bosch, sang with great ease and musicality, although he still needed to work on his diction. Hein Zomerdijk thought his Second Prize well deserved, as was his Prize of the Foundation of Dutch Musical Interests, given to hm on the grounds of his performing of a song by Henk Badings. Should you be able to help us with providing more biographical info/photos or recordings on Berthold Possemeyer, please contact us as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


László Polgár

Laszlo Polgar

‘With his pleasant and mellifluous voice Hungarian bass László Polgár is certain of a place in the finals’ (Hein Zomerdijk, ‘Zes sopranen in de finale,’ September 7, 1974)

‘The young Hungarian László Polgár had a noble, although somewhat cold voice. He still needs to gain experience but he fully deserved his Prize of the Foundation of Dutch Musical interest with is interpretations of no less than three songs by Daniel Ruyneman in the semi finals.’ (Hein Zomerdijk on the IVC Finals, September, 1974)

The Hungarian bass László Polgár (Budapest, January 1, 1947 – Zürich, September 19, 2010) studied at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest. After winning First Prizes at the Dvořák in 1971, he joined the Hungarian State Opera in 1972. He continued to embark upon a tour of vocal competitions, and won Prizes at the Schumann (1974) and the Erkel (1975) Competitions as well as in Ostende (1977), and at the ones sponsored by Hungarian Radio (Budapest, 1977) and, as late as 1981 at the Luciano Pavarotti sponsored Philadelphia contest. He also attended master-classes of Hans Hotter in Vienna. We first believed he arrived the IVC 1974 Den Bosch in a ‘very early stage’ in his career, which seemed to fit both the Jury’s verdict (Honorary Diploma), and the reviews of the press. Admittedly, the audience favored him, and some critics judged him more worthy of the Second Prize than baritone Andrew Knight, but all of them also noted Polgár’s limitations in interpretation (‘cold’) and ‘lack of experience.’ According to Dutch critic Johan van Dongen he failed to impress in his semi-finals performance of Mozart’s ‘In diesen heil’gen Hallen’ from Die Zauberflöte, and proved inexpressive in his songs. Van Dongen acknowledged his passing to the finals with a smile, saying that the Jury ‘had been so kind to let him climb the stage once more on Saturday.’ Hein Zomerdijk did not agree with his colleague and though Polgár’s voice resounding and enchanting; a certainty for the finals.’ Naturally, his talent and potential were recognized in the Honorary Diploma awarded to him. In addition, he also won the Prize of the Foundation of Dutch Musical Interests for his rendition of three songs by Daniel Ruyneman. Naturally, competitions are decided by the form of the day, and he may not have arrived in optima forma, such things are possible.

Nonetheless, given his status at the time as winner of the Dvořák Competition and a member of the Hungarian State Opera, it remains a pity that Polgár’s talent wasn’t more recognized in Den Bosch, for would be the only participant of the 1974 IVC who would achieve a world class career. As one of the leading basses of the Budapest Company, Polgár's major roles include Osmin, Sarastro, Don Basilio, Philipp II and Gremin. He was greatly acclaimed in Budapest at the reprises of Don Giovanni (1982) as Leporello, and in the role of Gurnemanz at the 1983 reprise of Parsifal. He regularly has guest appearances throughout Europe in Brussels and at the Covent Garden, in Bellini’s La Sonnambula). He sang Osmin (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) in Hamburg and Buenos Aires, Rodolfo (La Sonnambula) in London, Catania and Madrid, Sarastro ( Die Zauberflöte) in Paris, Nice, Zürich, Hamburg, Drottningholm and at the Salzburg Festival, Leporello (Don Giovanni) in Salzburg and Zürich, Publio (La Clemenza di Tito) in Salzburg and Vienna, Padre Guardian (La Forza del Destino) in Vienna and Catania, Il Rè ( Aida) in Munich, Timur (Turandot) in Munich, Sparafucile (Rigoletto) in Munich and Budapest, Fürst Boland (Fierrabras) in Vienna, Gurnemanz (Parsifal) in Antwerp, Budapest, Zürich and Berlin, König Marke (Tristan und Isolde) in Budapest and with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Tokyo, Lodovico Nardi (Die Gezeichneten) in Zürich, Conte di Walter (Luisa Miller) in Munich and Zürich, Don Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) in Brussels and Zürich, Moses und Aaron in Amsterdam and London, Daland (Der fliegende Holländer) in Zürich, Seneca (L'Incoronazione di Poppea) in Amsterdam, Oroveso (Norma) in Tel Aviv, Rocco ( Leonore) in Lausanne and Paris, Prefetto (Linda di Chamounix) in Zürich, Sir Giorgio (I Puritani) in Zürich, Wagner/Zeremonienmeister (Dr. Faust) at the Salzburg Festival, Enrico VIII (Anna Bolena) in Zürich and so on. One of his most important parts was the title role of Duke Bluebeard's Castle by Béla Bartók. Polgár performed it in either concert form or on stage with nearly all important conductors and orchestras. Among his projects were various performances in Zürich, Luisa Miller in Munich and Milano, Duke Bluebeard's Castle in Odense, at the Salzburg Festival, at the Montpellier Festival, in Paris, London and on tour with Pierre Boulez, Parsifal in Berlin and at the Edinburgh Festival, Fidelio at the Salzburg Easter Festival, in Berlin and Tokyo (with Sir Simon Rattle). He worked with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Bruno Bartoletti, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnányi, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Riccardo Muti, Kent Nagano, Guiseppe Patané, Michel Plasson, Sir Georg Solti, Pinchas Steinberg, Christian Thielemann, Marcello Viotti, Franz Welser-Möst as well as with stage directors such as Pina Bausch, Flimm, Götz Friedrich, Peter Musbach, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, and Peter Stein.

László Polgár was an outstanding oratorio and Lieder singer and professor at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Budapest and at the Hochschule für Musik in Winterthur, Switzerland. He died in Zürich in 2010, at the age of 63.


Polgár participated at a number of Hungaroton recordings (Balassa: The Door Outside; Lendvay: La p… respectueuse; Mozart ‘Mass No. 6;’ ‘Vesperae K. 339;’ Petrovic: Crime and Punishment and Händel: Atalanta). Among his many other recordings are Don Giovanni, La Clemenza di Tito and Fidelio with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Die Gezeichneten, Poliuto and Fierrabras with Claudio Abbado as well as Bluebeard's Castle with Pierre Boulez (Grammy Award 1999). He also recorded Il Rè (Aida) conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt for Teldec.

Anne Haenen

  • Anne Haenen
  • Anne Haenen 2
  • Anne Haenen 3
  • Anne Haenen 4
  • Haenen as Sybil Vane, 1974
  • Haenen as Sybil Vane, 1974
  • Anne Haenen in Dummies

Anne Haenen is a promising soprano of the Jugendlich-Dramatische category, although she still does not master her technique to perfection. Some vocalizes she should prepare better in order to have a good fundament of her performance. If we are looking very close, there were also still a few notes a little below the tine, although we have respect for the way in which she performed one of Ton de Leeuw’s ‘Haikus’ in the middle of a rather conservative entourage. Who knows, there might just be a Prize of Best Dutch Song Interpreter for her!’ (Hein Zomerdijk, ‘Zes sopranen in de finale,’ September 7, 1974)

Anne Haenen’s ‘voluptuous’ performance stood out in terms of voice control and the courage that was needed to attack Ton de Leeuw’s ‘Haiku.’ For that alone she merits the Prize of Dutch Musical Interest.’ She was excellent and very dramatic in Verdi’s Otello, although she had not yet found her way in Monteverdi.’

Dutch mezzo-soprano Anne Haenen debuted at the Dutch National Opera as First Edelknabe in Wagner’s Lohengrin on September 15, 1972. With the Dutch Opera Studio she had the solo lead in Poulenc’s La voix humaine in Zaandam, October 1, 1972, followed by small parts in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Menotti’s The old maid and the thief, and Harrison Birthwistle’s Down by the greenwood side (St. George). On March 16,1973 she created the part of Chrysis in the World Premiere of Bruno Maderna’s Satyricon there. Historic within the Netherlands due to the schism it caused in the Dutch musical world, was her creation of Sibyl Vane in Hans Kox’Dorian Gray, {LINK HANS KOX to his bio on 402DUtchOperas, link Dorian gray to the Dorian Gray page on 401Dutch Operas) in Scheveningen’s Circus Theatre on March 30, 1974. Perhaps the strong competition in the soprano segment at the IVC Den Bosch in September 1974 proved a step too high for Haenen, although hers is regrettably another case where a local singer of growing esteem and with a great career ahead of her, either failed to impress or wasn’t recognized. Haenen celebrated her third World Premiere in Otto Ketting’s Dummies, shortly after her IVC Prize of the Foundation Dutch Musical Interests. She appeared in Dummies together with IVC 1974 Ecouragement Prize Winner Hein Meens.

Anne Haenen mp3
Otto Ketting: Dummies ‘Een bloem bouwen’
Anne Haenen (sopraan), Marius van Altena (baritone), Richard Barrett (tenor), Dutch National Opera – Otto Ketting, November 1974.


By 1975 Haenen sang Pauline in Prokovjef’s The gambler at the Dutch National Opera (reprised in 1978). In 1976 she was Mélisande in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at the Dutch National Opera, which might count as her break through. By 1978 the Dutch National Opera even brought her in Poulenc’s La voix humaine, which she had previously toured cross country with the Opera Studio ever since her debut in it with the Opea Studio. In 1979 she appeared in the Holland Festival as the Phèdres in Milhaud’s L’abandon d’Ariane and La déliverenacce de Thésée, followed there by Helene in Hindemith’s Hin und Zurück. Following these performances Haenen went to sing abroad and embarked on a successful concert career. Throughout the 1980’s she was also frequently heard at the Dutch radio. In 1984 an American recital of her was warmly received by the New York Times. By 1993 she returned as General Manager of the Dutch Chamber Opera Foundation. For Opera Amsterdam she did the stage direction in Kerry Woodward’s Rapunzel (1994). Then she also presided over the Glass Onion Foundation, for which she adapted Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel (1994).

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Hein Meens

‘The first tenor who distinguished himself positively was Hein Meens for Geleen. His performances of songs by Wolf and Duparc had allure, and his beautiful vocal color and his technical mastership were revealed in the difficult coloratura section in ‘Ach mein Sinn’ from Bach’s Johannes Passion.’ (Johan van Dongen, September 7, 1974)

Hein Meens

Dutch tenor Hein Meens (Nieuwenhagen, April 24 – Amsterdam, February 10, 2012) started studying piano and singing in 1971, at the Maastricht Conservatory. His teacher was Mia Besselink. In 1974, while still studying, he participated in the International Vocal Competition Den Bosch where he won the Encouragement Prize ‘Toonkunst.’ In 1975 he graduated summa cum laude in both piano and singing. In 1977 he was awarded the Prix d’Excellence for solo singing. In the same year, he won the Prize of the city of Maastricht, and the year there after the Silver Friend’s Laurel of the Foundation Friends of the Concertgebouw and the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

VIDEO TAKE FROM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPyUJhabpqA

Meens started his career as an oratorium singer and became well known as the Evangelist in Bach’s Mattheus Passion, which he performed over 250 times. He also participated in cantata performances in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam and the Kloosterkerk in The Hague. Later he specialized in opera and song. Meens’ operatic repertoire was broad, ranging from Monteverdi to contemporary composers. After his debut in 1978 with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra as Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro he sang opera roles with Opera Forum, later Nederlandse Reisopera (o.a. La Cenerentola, Albert Herring, Evgeni Onegin), Opera Zuid and The Dutch National Opera (o.a. Naima by Theo Loevendie, Symposion by Peter Schat and the opening production of the Muziektheater, in 1986, Otto Ketting’s Ithaka).

  • Hein Meens ss
  • Hein Meens ss2
  • Meens at IVC Den Bosch Masterclass

He frequently sang in concert opera performances, in The Netherlands and abroad. In 1993 he performed in New York in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. In Belgium he appeared in Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and Die Zauberflöte. He frequently appeared in Dutch radio- and television appearances in the 1970’s and 80’s. Of his more modern repertoire, we present him here in Chiel Meijering’s opera Alzheimer, from 2006. In his final years Hein Meens was President and member of the Jury at the International Vocal Competition Den Bosch, where he himself had started his career. He also gave masterclasses there. For a full portrait with chronology please visit Hein Meens401DutchDivas.nl page.


For Anne Haenen, Ruzanna Lissitzian, and Nadezhda Vainer see above.

Ingeborg Most

Ingeborg Most
Lortzing: Undine ‘Des Fremden ganzes Wese’ (Act II)
Ingeborg Most (Marthe), Klaus Häger (Tobias), Kölner Rundfunk Orchester & Chor – Kurt Eichhorn (conductor) © CD CArpriccio 60 017-2


Ingeborg Most had a provincial German career, which culminated in her participations in the 1990’s Capriccio broadcast recordings of Lortzing’s Undine (as Marthe) and Weill’s Der Kuhhandel. Those recordings are also the only details we have regarding her career.

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Kathrin Graf

Kathrin Graf

‘An accomplished Lieder singer.’ (Johan van Dongen on the semi finals, Spetember 1974)

‘The Jury made a mistake to not let her pass to the finals, since she excelled in Schubert en Debussy’ (Hein Zomerdijk on the semi finals, September 1974)

The Swiss soprano, Kathrin Graf (Zürich, 1942) is the sister of the flute player/conductor Peter-Lukas Graf (1929). She studied at the conservatories of Geneva and Winterthur, in Frankfurt am Mainz, and at the Musikhochschule Berlin (with Elizabeth Grümmer). After finishing her studies, Graf started a prolific career as a concert singer from her residence in Zürich. Her concert repertoire of oratorio works ranged from the Baroque of J.S. Bach and Händel up to modern compositions. By the time she reached the 1974 edition of the IVC Den Bosch, she had already started her career, given our copy of an exceedingly rare CD recording of Händel’s little known St. John’s Passion, where she is one of the three sopranos (unfortunately, it is not specified which soprano sings what, which makes it impossible for us to present a sample of that Israel Festival recording here). She continued her career with the Zürich Opera House, from where her 1977 Pamina in a broadcast of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte survived among collectors.

Kathrin Graf mp3
Medley of her recital CD with arias and songs by Händel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Rameau, J.S. Bach, Martin, Roussel & Ravel
Kathrin Graf (soprano) (Claves)


She appeared as a concert singer in Switzerland (Zürich, Basel, Berne, Lausanne, Geneva, Winterthur, St. Gallen, Schaffhausen), in Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria, in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, in Canada and Japan with great successes. She excelled as a Lieder singer.

erik satieDiscography: Hänssler-Verlag (Cantatas of J.S. Bach); Pick (Liebeslieder-Walzer by Johannes Brahms); Claves (Haydn: Nelson-Messe; Songs & arias of Händel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Rameau, J.S. Bach, Martin, Roussel und Ravel); Pan (Media in vita by A. Schibler); Accord (Satie: Socrate); Händel: St. John’s Passion. In addition she recorded a good deal of music by Swiss composers.

Gwynneth Griffiths

‘Gwynneth Griffiths splendidly spun out the refined lyricism in a song from Mahler’s ‘Fahrenden Gesellen’ (Hein Zomerdijk on the IVC finals, September 1974)

Should you be able to help us with providing more biographical info/photos or recordings on Gwynneth Griffiths, please contact us as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

László Polgár (see above)