Albert van Haasteren

1955-w2'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).