• 1978concert
  • David James
  • Larisa Shevchenko
  • Ingemar Korjus
  • David James
  • Larisa Shevchenko
  • Ingemar Korjus

Hein Zomerdijk introduced the 25th International Vocal Competition (IVC) Den Bosch Gala Concert in the Casino Theatre as the crowning achievement of the competition, and in many cases also the first experiences with real live performance before an audience. Would the Winners be able to control their nerves and match the expectations they had risen during the public semi finals and finals? Fortunately, there were no problems with engagements that prevented Prize Winners from appearing at the jubilee Gala Concert, and, wrote Zomerdijk, ‘André Rieu Sr. also managed to create a program that kept the lousy pianos from being dragged onstage during the final concert, always a weak bid.’

According to Zomerdijk, the audience could not have been served better, since most participants surpassed their finals achievements, starting with Polish tenor Grzegorz Caban, who excelled in ‘Amor ti vieta’ from Giordano’s Fedora, and in ‘Quando le sere al plácido’ from Verdi’s Luisa Miller. His youthful ardor (and good looks) did the rest. There against Zomerdijk thought countertenor David James nerve stricken; he apparently did not succeed in achieving the impressive high level he had reached so effortlessly during the finals:

‘He was still a class of his own, but just a shade behind that natural self assuredness that had characterized his previous appearances, nor in the Händel arias, nor in the Bach Cantata, beautifully accompanied from Arthur Mersel on oboe.’ (Hein Zomerdijk, ‘Prachtig slotconcert,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 7, 1978)

Ingemar Korjus continued with what he had been doing from the start: improving himself rounds after round, now again in the concert, where he distinguished himself with his noble sound and his high technical accomplishment. A highlight was his Papageno-Papagena duet from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Alla Ablaberdieva. According to Karin Maria Kwant in Mens & Melodie there were some reservations to be made with respect to Ablaberdieva’s vibrato, and Korjus’ beefy tone, although it was doubtlessly an entertaining highlight that concluded the first part of the evening, ‘a jolly note!’

  • Grzegorz Caban
  • Elaine Woods
  • Alla Ablaberdieva
  • Grzegorz Caban
  • Elaine Woods
  • Alla Ablaberdieva

Among sopranos, Zomerdijk was touched by Elaine Woods, whose mildness in combination with temperament in expression was heart rendering; her singing of the aria ‘Il est doux, il est bon’ from Massenet’s Hérodiade was utterly beautiful. On the opposite scale of her vocal approach were the equally great Russians, beginning with Larisa Shevchenko, who finally revealed why she deserved the praise bestowed on her previously by President of the Jury Manus Willemsen, who had dubbed her voice ‘a gift from Heaven.’ It was a beautiful instrument, as was Alla Ablaberdieva’s voice, although her ‘Alleluja’ from Mozart’s Exultate jubilate revealed that the younger USSR/Tadjikistan diva in the making was technically not yet on a par with her compatriot. Even so, Zomerdijk was full of praise for her ‘Regnava nel silenzio’ from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and he pointed out that her operatic achievements at the Gala Concert was all the more remarkable since her preferred genre was song!

With none less than 5 Brabant Orchestra premieres in the form of the arias from Fedora, Il trovatore, Luisa Miller, Simon Boccanegra and Evgeni Onegin scenes being orchestra premieres for the Brabant orchestra, André Rieu Sr. had a hard time. Nonetheless, he once again made the most of the concert, excelling foremost in the opening overture from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, as well as in the Tatyana’s splendidly orchestrated ‘Letter scene’ from Evgeni Onegin, for which Shevchenko proved most grateful.



September 6, 1978
IVC Concluding Gala Concert, City Theatre Casino, Den Bosch
Brabant Orchestra – André Rieu Sr. (conductor)


1   Mozart Le nozze di Figaro ‘Overture’
2 David James (ct) Händel
The Messiah    ‘He was despised’
3 David James (ct) Händel The Messiah    ‘But who may abide’
4 Larisa Shevchenko (s) Boïto Mefistofele  ‘L’altra notte’
5 Gregorz Caban (t) Giordano Fedora   ‘Amor ti vieta’
6 Larisa Shevchenko (s) Verdi Il trovatore   ‘Tacea la notte’
7 Elaine Woods (s) Weber Der Freischütz  ‘Einst träumte meine seel’ge Base’
8 Ingemar Korjus (bb) Mozart KV 513 ‘Mentre ti lascio’
9 Alla Ablaberdieva (s) Mozart Exultate jubilate   ‘Allelujah’ 
10 Alla Ablaberdieva (s) & Ingemar Korjus (bb) Mozart Die Zauberflöte ‘Duet Papagena-Papageno’
11 David James (ct) Bach Cantata Nr. 170  ‘Vergnugte Ruh’
12 Alla Ablaberdieva (s) Donizetti Lucia di Lammermoor ‘Regnava nel silenzio’
13 Elaine Woods (s) Massenet Hérodiade  ‘Il est doux, il est bon’
14 Gregorz Caban (t) Verdi Luisa Miller   ‘Quando le sere al placido’
15 Ingemar Korjus (bb) Verdi Simon Boccanegra   ‘Il lacerato spirito’
16 Larisa Shevchenko (s) Tchaikovsky Evgeni Onegin ‘Tatyana’s letter scene’