1st prize: ƒ 1000, the medal of Muziekstad Den Bosch, a diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra, a KRO Radio broadcast.
2nd prize: ƒ 500, a diploma, a concert with the Brabant Orchestra, a KRO Radio broadcast.
Young Talent prize: ƒ 500, a diploma
Honorary diploma  
Elisabeth Simon Soprano UK
1st prize Elisabeth Simon Soprano  UK
2nd prize Halina Słonicka Soprano  PO
2nd prize Maria Antonietta Sighele Soprano  IT
Not awarded
Not awarded
1st prize Ranken Bushby Bass UK
2nd prize Bernhard Kruysen Baritone NL
2nd prize Aurelio Estanislao Bass PHI
Loris Sutton Soprano UK
Evelyn Lear Soprano USA
Nell Allen Alt GER
William Flavin  Tenor USA
Jerzy Szymanski Bass PO
Jerzy Artysz Bass PO
Alida Legué Soprano NL



Elisabeth Simon (London, 1930–??)


At the time of her 1959 participation in the IVC Contest, Elisabeth Simon (1930–??) was 25 years young and she had a predilection for the music of Mozart. Other than that little is known about her except that she was already performing since 1955. In that year a semi-amateur school performance from May 7, at the Dartford County Grammar School for Girls could be traced. Post Händel's Jeptha and Bach's St. Matthew's Passion she arrived to the 5th International Vocal Competition 's Hertogenbosch with a surplus of experience. In retrospect this seems to have been the decisive element in her victory. Her lot was comprised of 'I know that my redeemer liveth' from Händels' Messiah, Duparc's song 'L'invitation au voyage', and the prize winning highlight of the competition, the startling Zerbinetta aria 'Grosmächtige Prinzessin' from Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Critic Leo Hanekroot of De Tijd thought her equally brilliant in all three styles, plainchant, the distinguished splendor of a song like 'L'invitation', and the bravura of daring opera coloratura. At the same time he noticed that she was very 'English' in being somewhat reserved in her expression, and a bit cold. These features may well have confined her career to the British provinces, where she can be traced until the early 1970s. She participated there in song recitals, and was a noted soloist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

More info on/ or photographs and recordings of Elisabeth Simon are welcome. Should you have anything to add, please contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bernard Kruysen (1933- 2000)

The Dutch baritone (René) Bernard Kruysen (Kruijsen), descended from a family of artists. He was born on March 28, 1933 in Montreux, Switzerland as a son of a Dutch painter. Already at the age of seven he gave his first concert but later tried his luck as a painter before taking singing lessons with Herbert Raideck, and from 1953 on at The Hague Conservatory. A scholarship from the French government enabled him to study with Pierre Bernac. In Paris he received the Gabriel Fauré Price. He arrived to Den Bosch in his formative years, with his voice not yet fully developed, or so noted the critics – all o them. Leo Hanekroot for De Tijd:

'A beautiful, bet slightly feminine sounding baritone, who couldn't keep up wit the best. Technically, he has a lot going for him, but in terms of musicality he still has to learn a lot, if not most. He twists and turns his voice without direction. Dutch singers suffer from a chamber mentality – do they ever listen to great foreign interpreters?'

Although he made his debut in opera, he was best known for his solo recitals, especially of French song. A fastidious artist, he had an ample, burnished tone, and held in fine balance the detailed inflections and the fuller design of each song. In France he was recognized as one of the greatest interpreters. In 1962 he received the Grand Prix du Disque for his outstanding performance of Debussy lieder. In 1967 he made his first successfully tour through the Unites States. On the opera stage he appeared only seldom (Silvio in Pagliacci, Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles, and with an amateur company as Janusz in Moniuszko's Halka – in Polish language! Born with the sea, he was a passionate diver and three times European champion in spear fishing. Kruysen Made numerous recordings for labels as Epic, Valois, Westminster, Philips, Telefunken and Eurodisc; among them Bach cantatas but most of time Lieder, especially French repertoire.

Peter van der Bilt

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The Dutch bass Peter van der Bilt (1936-1983) was born on August 30, 1936 in Batavia (Jakarta), on the Isle of Java in Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). He studied in Amsterdam at the 'Amsterdam Muzieklyceum' as pianist as well as singer and was a pupil of Herman Schey and Hans Cleuver. Upon 1958 he gave numerous opera and oratorio appearances in the Netherlands. He made his operatic debut in Amsterdam as Horn (Samuel) in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, 1958. He mastered a wide repertory, with as well serious- as buffo roles and appeared at some Holland Festival productions, most of time in modern works. He also sang widely in concerts. He was connected to the Opera of Düsseldorf, where he one week before he died, still sang in Auber's Fra Diavolo.

Pieter van den Bilt in 'Vieno o levita' (1964)

Aurelio Estanislao

Aurelio-EstanislaoAurelio Estanislao became one of the best known classical singers and teachers in the Philippines. As with Elisabeth Simon's first prize in the soprano range, Estanislao's second prize in the Jos Aurelio category was not a big surprise. He had been awarded with the 2nd prize in the prestigious Concours International d'Execution Musicale de Genève, 1954. In that year he also recorded what seems to have been his first vinyl record for Decca, all seven of Manuel de Falla's 'Siete canciones populares espanolas.' By 1958, the year of his participation in the IVC contest, Estanislao had established a career that at least took him to the U.S. provinces, since he appeared there at the Sixth annual May Festival at the university of Michigan. He sang there the title role of Händel's Solomon. He came to Den Bosch with a clear ambition, and had the means to invest in his career, since he brought his own distinguished pianist. All critics praised his artistry; Leo Hanekroot for De Tijd described his performances in detail:

'A shrewd vocalist with immaculate technique, and an artist such as one can't easily find. His style in Bach was unmatched by any other competitor. Better yet was his rendition of 'Herr was trägt der Boden hier' from Wolf's Spanisches Liederbuch. This was no longer a song. This was an emanation of mystic proportions. Schwarzkopf can sing this. And now we know that a certain Aurelio Estanislao from the Philippines can also sing it, even though it must be alien to his culture. It was truly unique!'

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Post his second prize in Den Bosch, Estanislao swiftly developed into a popular classical singer in the Philippines. He recorded at least six LP's, among them a triptych of recordings for Colombia Records with music from music of the American Moravians. Post career he became a sought after vocal coach. To our best knowledge, Estanislao is no longer among us. We are looking to establish his dates of birth and death. In the process, we discovered a truly unique sample of his art in our own archives: the Rigoletto's 'Cortegiani', recorded at the concluding IVC Concert of prizewinners, which can be heard on the concerning page.

More info on/ or photographs and recordings of Aurelio Estanislao are welcome. Should you have anything to add, please contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ranken Bushby (0000–2013)

Ranken-BushbyRanken Bushby bravely returned to Den Bosch after his second prize in 1957, determined to win. His weapons were An aria by Händel, another one from Borodin's Prince Igor, and Wolf's 'Nun lasst und Frieden schliessen from 'Das Italienische Liederbuch. His voice was chaacterized as a sonorous, true baritone, well equalized, and rich in nuance, even when singing piano. Post his 1958 victory he continued his career mostly in the UK provinces, landing the comprimario part of The Novice's Friend in Britten's revised Billy Bud presentation of November 13, 1960, conducted by the composer. Two years later he appeared in the BBC recording of Delius Fennimore and Gerda, which was released on vinyl. He sang both Sportsman and Counciler Skinnerup. His second Night of the Proms performance followed in 1963, when he performed Brahms's Liebeslieder there, together with his 1958 IVC co-winner Elisabeth Simon. Perhaps best known due to several radio broadcast is his performance as Pompeo in the BBC 1963 broadcast of Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini, arguably the most substantial music available to testify of his voice today. Available on a Reader's Digest CD are his three folksongs from the British Isles, originally released in 1965 on the LP 'Greensleeves And Other Favorite Folk Songs.'

More info on/ or photographs and recordings of Ranken Bushby are welcome. Should you have anything to add, please contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Halina Słonicka (March 29, 1931 – July 9, 2000)

Halina-SłonickaHalina Słonicka's voice was described at the contest as 'of celestial beauty, and great clarity' (Leo Hanekroot in De Tijd). However, the same critic accused her of being a tasteless crowd pleaser, who crooned her way through Duparc's 'Extase', whereas her Mimì was too much of a showpiece with too less of heart. Great through, was het aria from Les pêcheurs de perles. Rather than cultivating her voice, the critic found her 'exploiting' it. How differently F.H. described the same thing for an unknown newspaper, with respect to Słonicka's rendering of 'Si mi chiamano Mimì' from la Boheme, in the final concert:

'Vocally, the aria posed no difficulties to her whatsoever. Moreover, she proved to be a born opera singer in the charming way in which she exploited the possibilities to act out the part, the role of ingénue fitted her like a glove.'

Fortunately for Słonicka, history proved the diva right. She enjoyed an impressive operatic career in Poland, where she was the leading diva of the Warsaw State Opera House for decades. She made numerous recordings and her voice is further preserved in a great deal of live recordings. She pioneered in Moniuszko, excelled in song and as late as 1984 she starred as a singer in the movie Rok Spokojnego Slonca, by Krzysztof Zanussi. Set in Europe after World War II, the story centers on the love affair between a traumatized American soldier and a Polish refugee. Her art, both with respect to the impact of her voice as her tendency to turn any given music into a showcase for her powerful instrument, is amply demonstrated in this 1964 recording of an aria from Moniuszko's Hrabina:

Stanisław Moniuszko: Hrabina 'Aria'
Halina Słonicka (Hrabina), Chorus and Orchestra of the Warsaw State Opera House – Mieczysław Mierzejewski, 1964

More info on/ or photographs and recordings of Halina Słonicka are welcome. Should you have anything to add, please contact us
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Maria Antonietta Sighele

When I wrote the first few lines on the completely unknown Maria Antonietta Sighele, my words spelled that nothing was known of her, apart from two or three lines devoted to her during this IVC 1958. Leo Hanekroot wrote that her second prize must have been awarded to her on the grounds of her technique, since she was still far from an accomplished interpreter. He actually wrote that Sighele's recital of Cacchini's 'Amarilli' was 'truly ugly.' Things must have improved tremendously in the few days from there to her appearance at the Final IVC Concert where Sighele's rendition of 'Un bel dì vedremo' from Madama Butterfly won her the favor of the public, per F.H. in an unknown newspaper: 'The way in which she performed this touching elegy drew a hurricane of applause from the audience.'

Through a miracle, we were able to secure the larger part of the 1958 IVC Final Concert within the 401DutchDivas archive, and therefore we are now able to present you the debut of this star in the making that hitherto has been completely overlooked in the IVC history. For the MP3 we refer you to the Final IVC Concert page.

Admittedly, Jordans conducts slower than even Giuseppe Sinopoli in Butterfly, but here it is: a true lyric verismo voice, with emotional intensity and a quick, flicker vibrato in the lineage of Maria Farneti to Magda Olivero. Yes, she isn't yet a complete 'interpreter' in what is practivally her debut before any audience.  Apart from that it should be pointed out that few soprano's can quite hit the mark on the conclusive note of this aria, whereas Sighele nails it like a resolute whip lash. After that, nothing more was heard of the charming young 'Maria Antonietta' , until... I found an intriguing picture in a scrapbook that I inherited from 401DutchDivas founding father Joop Lindeijer. It featired a radiantly beautiful young soprano named MIETTA Sighele... The beauty mark just above her upper lip left no doubt and a few hours later, after contacting her, I received this reply:

'Dear Mr. Seghers... I confirm you that I am the same Mietta (Maria Antonietta) Sighele who you are speaking of! It was a big and nice surprise to receive information about the competition DEN BOSCH, which I attended as a participant in 1958. You must know that this was my first Competition and since then my career has been very long. For this reason, it is very sweet for me to get back with the memories to that time of my life!!! After a 40 years career spent on the most important theatres of the world, at the moment I am the artistic director of musicaRivafestival – an international meeting of young musicians and of the International Competition for young opera singers Riccardo Zandonai, which take place in Riva del Garda, in Trentino, Italy every year. 20 years ago I was asked to found the Riccardo Zandonai Competition, together with my husband, the tenor Veriano Luchetti, with the aim to promote and give the right importance to Riccardo Zandonai, the well known composer born in the same town where I was born, Rovereto.'

Together with Miss. Sighele we are currently preparing a feature portrait on her.