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Competitions / SINGING 1988 / Candidates / Candidates
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First prize - Queen Elisabeth International Grand Prize - Oratorio Prize
La soprano polonaise Aga Winska est née à Varsovie dans une famille de musiciens. Très tôt, elle apprend le piano et la flûte traversière, puis se tourne vers le chant qu'elle étudie à la faculté de Chant et d'Art Dramatique du Conservatoire de Varsovie auprès d'Urszula Trawinska-Moroz. En 1986, elle obtient le prix du Ministère de la Culture et de l'Art pour ses prestations. Elle poursuit sa formation en participant aux masterclasses d'Irina Archipova (Varsovie), Hanne-Lore-Kuhze (Weimar), Elly ameling, Marlena Malas, Noëlle Barber et Elio Battaglia (Alden-Biesen). En 1987, elle débute à l'Opéra de Chambre de Varsovie dans le rôle de la Reine de la Nuit, chante en Pologne, Allemagne et France. C'est en 1988 qu'elle remporte le Premier Prix du CMIREB ainsi que le Prix d'Oratorio et le Prix Alex de Vries. Suit une vaste tournée en Europe : Vienne, Bruxelles, Stockholm, Paris, Cracovie... Invitée de nombreux festivals, elle chante sous la direction de Harnoncourt, Cambreling, Octors... Elle enregistre également pour la radio et la télévision polonaise, se perfectionne auprès de la soprano roumaine Elena Nentwig, interprète Clarisse dans Il Mondo della Luna de Haydn... Bien que ses apparitions aujourd'hui se fassent plus rares, elle demeure une référence en Belgique depuis qu'elle y a triomphé.
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Second Prize
Soprano Jeanette Thompson won Second Prize at the 1988 Queen Elisabeth Competition. She has been most enthusiastically praised by critics as the soprano soloist in the Verdi Requiem (which she performed in Carnegie Hall), Brahms' German Requiem, Rossini's Stabat Mater and Poulenc's Gloria. She made her debut with the Toledo Symphony in Britten's War Requiem in April 1995 and was invited to return to sing Strauss' Four Last Songs in May 1997. She has appeared with the Long Island Philharmonic, the Aspen Opera Orchestra, St. Luke's Chamber Orchestra and the Rjecka National Opera Orchestra, as well as solo recitals around the United States and in Cameroon, Kenya and Zaire. Currently, she teaches at the Izmir State Conservatory of Music.
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Third Prize - Lied Prize
Dutch bass-baritone Hubert Claessens studied at the Conservatory of Music in Maastricht with Mya Besselink and with Margreet Honig. At the Queen Elisabeth Competition 1988 he was distinguished as Third Laureate and was also rewarded with the special “European Prize of the Art Song”, with highest recommandation by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. This led to many recitals all over the world, among others in Brussels, Vienna, Paris, Dublin and Tel-Aviv. Hubert Claessens began his career at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam and the Nationale Reisopera. He made his debut at the Salzburger Festspiele, the Wiener Staatsoper and The Theatre Le Chatelet in Paris with the world-premiere of “ Die Schwarze Maske” by Christof Penderecki under the supervision of Herbert von Karajan and sang the leading role of Young Sam in Bernstein’s “A Quiet Place”. From that moment on he was involved in many new creations. He sang the title role in the worldpremiere of Walter Hus’ opera “Orfeo” in Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, Vienna, Lisboa, Berlin, Amsterdam etc. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra invited him to perform the solopart in “ A Survivor of Warsaw” by Schoenberg conducted by Klaus Tennstedt. He interpreted Orgon at the first production of “ Spiel von Liebe und Zufall” by Helge Joerns at the Schwetzingen Festival in Germany. Recently he appeared in a new opera by Guus Jansen/Friso Haverkamp/ Pierre Audi in the title-role of “Hierº” for the Netherlands Opera Amsterdam. He also sang the main part in a new opera by the Dutch composer Gerard Ammerlaan: “Ontstaan in Grote Nood”. Besides singing he plays many contempory compositions on saxophone, some especially written for and recorded with Hubert Claessens as a soloist. This brought him to many beautiful concert halls such as the Birmingham Symfony Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, The Philharmonie in Cologne, the Konserthus in Stockholm and many others. A regular guest of the Handel Festival in Karlsruhe, he has performed in concerts and opera productions like “Admeto”, “ Jephta”, “Imeneo”, and “Samson”. This gave him the opportunity to work with Nicholas Mcgegan, Roy Goodman, Charles Farncombe and others. Hubert Claessens has always enjoyed performing opera’s and concerts with baroque orchestras. His first appearance with La Petite Bande conducted by Sigiswald Kuijken was as Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte, recorded live in Budapest during a tour in 1992. This made them work together on many nice occasions. Hubert was involved in their 1995 European tour of Mozart’s Don Giovanni as Leporello, also recorded live, and in 1998 he sang the Count Almaviva during their tour and recording of Le Nozze di Figaro. With the same orchestra he also appeared in Antonio Caldara’s “I Disingannati”, during the Festwochen der Alte Musik in Innsbruck, and on many tours in Japan, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and France singing the bass-parts in oratorio’s such as Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem and Bach’s St. John’s Passion. Jean-Claude Malgoire and La grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy accompanied Hubert Claessens in many different productions, like Don Giovanni (Leporello), Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro),the Magic Flute (Papageno, Sprecher and Sarastro) and La Clemenza di Tito (Publio), all by Mozart. In 1997 they invited him to produce, sing and conduct a tour with concert-arias by Mozart, the charming opera “ Il Maestro di Capella” by Cimerosa and some instrumental pieces by Mozart. This was after Mr. Claessens made his conducting debut with the Noordholland Philharmonic Orchestra in Haarlem. Hubert Claessens is also well-known as a concert singer. He performed the St. John’s Passion, the St. Matthew's Passion ( most recently in Japan and Europe with Michel Corboz), Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms, Verdi’s and Faure’s Requiem, Haendel’s Messiah and more than 80 other oratorios and concert-pieces in the finest concert halls such as the Queen Elisabeth Hall in London, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, the Palacio de Congresos y Auditos in La Coruna (Spain) and the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Hubert Claessens is a versatile artist who finds challenge to be authentic in any period or style of music, reflecting in his repertoire ranging from Schuetz to Penderecki and even Gershwin and Cole Porter. He has participated in numerous radio and television recordings in Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Israel, Austria, Germany, France and Japan and can be heard on many CD recordings.
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Fourth Prize
Bass-baritone Jacob Will made his New York Philharmonic debut as soloist in the American Premiere of the Messa per Rossini, a performance televised live nationwide. An experienced concert artist, Jacob Will has appeared with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Vladamir Ashkenazy and with the Cabrillo Festival under the baton of Dennis Russell Davies. He has sung with the San Francisco Symphony in the St. Matthew Passion, with the International Bach Festival of Schaffhausen, Switzerland in the St. John Passion, and with the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra in Frank Martin's Le mystère de la Nativité. He has also recorded Cherubini’s Messe solennelle under Helmuth Rilling and Zemlinsky’s Kleider Machen Leute under Ralf Weikert. Jacob Will has sung for many years with the Zürich Opera, appearing in roles such as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Mustafa in L'Italiana in Algeri, and Colline in La Boheme. Other companies with which he has appeared include the New York City Opera as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Vancouver Opera as Oroveso in Norma, the Bavarian State Opera as Samuel in Un Ballo in Maschera and the San Francisco Opera as Masetto in Don Giovanni. A native of Hartsville, South Carolina, Jacob Will attended Furman University and graduated from the University of South Carolina and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He participated in the Merola and Adler Fellowship Programs of the San Francisco Opera and has been a prizewinner in various international singing competitions including the Munich Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition.
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Fifth Prize
Mezzosopraan Yvonne Schiffelers is sinds 1996 als docent solozang en opera verbonden aan het Conservatorium Maastricht. Ze studeerde zelf in 1986 in Maastricht cum laude af in de richting uitvoerend musicus concert en opera. Nog voor de afronding van deze studie werd zij al geëngageerd door de opera van Keulen en gasteerde zij aan het Stadttheater van Aken. Van 1987 tot 1994 was zij vast ensemblelid van het National Theater Mannheim. Daar heeft zij haar repertoire kunnen uitbreiden tot meer dan 50 rollen voor haar stemvak zoals Dorabella, Octavian, Componist, Charlotte en Orfeo. Deze partijen vertolkte ze ook regelmatig als gast bij belangrijke Duitse operahuizen waaronder die in Frankfurt, Berlijn, Hamburg, Keulen en Hannover. Tot op heden is zij vaste gastsoliste aan het National Theater Mannheim. Ondertussen profileerde zij zich ook als soliste op het concertpodium met werken van Bach tot Berio. Zij trad op in binnen- en buitenland met orkesten en dirigenten van naam. Van deze uitvoeringen bestaan verschillende radio- en televisieopnamen. In Duitsland en Oostenrijk was zij zeer succesvol als Mahlervertolkster en overal kregen haar originele liedrecitals lovende kritieken. De vele concertaanbiedingen stelden haar in staat om vanaf 1995 freelance te gaan werken en gevolg te geven aan uitnodigingen van operagezelschappen onder andere in Amsterdam, Helsinki, Keulen en Nagoya. Zij werd gevraagd voor verschillende internationale festivals in Europa en Zuid-Amerika zoals het Servantes Festival in Guanajuato en Mexico City 2003. Voor de seizoenen 2004-2006 werd zij gecontracteerd door de Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Luik , het National Theater Mannheim en de Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam. In 2007 vertolkte zij bij Opera Zuid de rollen van La Principessa en Zita in Il Trittico van Puccini. Seizoen 2009 werd zij geëngageerd door de opera van Bari voor Waltraute. Yvonne Schiffelers gaf verder masterclasses in Castellon, Rio de Janiero en Damascus. Daarnaast is zij als vocaalcoach sinds 2005 verbonden aan de operaproducties van de Jeunesses Musicales in Weikersheim, Duitsland. Met regelmaat wordt zij gevraagd als jurylid van verschillende concoursen. In 2008 nodigde de Vlaamse televisie haar uit om plaats te nemen als panellid tijdens de finale van de Koningin Elisabethwedstrijd. Vóór haar conservatoriumopleiding voltooide Yvonne Schiffelers de pedagogische academie. In combinatie met haar zangcarrière maakt dit haar tot een ervaren zangdocent die uit gemotiveerde zangstudenten het beste naar boven weet te halen.
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Sixth Prize
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Seventh Prize
Marie-Noëlle de Callatay a étudié le chant au Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Bruxelles dans la classe de Jules Bastin. Elle est lauréate des Concours Internationaux de chant de ‘s Hertogenbosch 1987 (Pays-Bas) et du Concours Reine Elisabeth en 1988 où lui fut en outre décerné le prix du public Jacques Stehman. La même année elle fut aussi lauréate de la Fondation Belge de la Vocation. Elle donne de nombreux récitals et participe comme soliste à des oratorios en Belgique et à l’étranger (France, Italie, ex-URSS, Danemark, Espagne, Japon, Allemagne, Portugal, U.S.A., Luxembourg) sous la direction de chefs comme Frieder Bernius, Frans Brüggen, Pierre Cao, William Christie, Grant Llewellyn, Peter Neuman, Ton Koopman, Patrick Peire, Yuri Simonov, Pierre Bartholomée, Marc Minkowski. Elle participe régulièrement à des productions à l’Opéra de Flandres. Elle a chanté le rôle-titre de l’opéra Il Re Pastore de Mozart (version de concert) à la Cité de la Musique de Paris avec l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France sous la direction de Leopold Hager, avec qui elle s’est produite en juillet 1998 au Festival de Salzbourg dans la messe en ut de Mozart. Elle a également chanté plusieurs représentations de La Cenerentola de Rossini à l’Opéra de Hambourg.
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Eighth Prize
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Ninth Prize
The Belgian bass-baritone Werner Van Mechelen studied at the Lemmens Institute in Louvain. He attended master classes with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Robert Holl, Mitsuko Shirai, Hartmut Höll and Malcolm King. He was finalist of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. He also won Prizes at the International Competition in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Concours International in Toulouse and the Concurs Viñas in Barcelona. At this occasion, he also won the special Schubert Prize. He very successfully participated in the renowned Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Werner Van Mechelen is a highly versatile artist. Opera performances, concerts of the great Passions and Oratorios, as well as Songs with orchestra, have taken him to Brussels, Antwerp/Ghent, Liège, Amsterdam, Cologne, Dortmund, Paris, Nancy, Avignon, Geneva, Venice, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Göteborg, Seoul, Tel Aviv etc. Werner Van Mechelen has performed the great Mozart parts - the Count and Figaro Nozze di Figaro, Guglielmo and Don Alfonso Cosi fan tutte, Don Giovanni and Leporello Don Giovanni, Papageno Die Zauberflöte - as well as Pizarro Fidelio, Schaunard and Marcello La Bohème, Sonora La Fanciulla del West, Dandini La Cenerentola, Wolfram Tannhäuser, Kothner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Alberich Der Ring des Nibelungen, Count Eberbach Der Wildschütz, Karnac Le Roi d’Ys, Sancho Panca Don Quichotte, Varlaam Boris Godunov, Gamekeeper Cunning Little Vixen, Tamer and Athlete Lulu, title-part Wozzeck, Nekrotzar Le grand Macabre, Chambellan Yvonne (Philippe Boesmans), Mandryka Arabella, Gyges Der König Kandaules, Ford Falstaff and the title-part Rigoletto. He has worked with conductors such as James Conlon, Patrick Davin, Roy Goodman, Hartmut Haenchen, Lothar Koenigs, Bernhard Kontarsky, Ton Koopman, Sigiswald Kuijken, Jan Latham-Koenig, Friedemann Layer, Alexander Lazarev, Antonio Pappano, Stefan Soltesz, Jeffrey Tate, Silvio Varviso, Walter Weller, Mark Wigglesworth and many others. The part of Alberich in the cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen occupies a prominent position in the Wagner repertoire of Werner Van Mechelen: after most successful interpretations at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège (with RTBF telecast), he also sang the part at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam, the Flanders Opera in Antwerp/Ghent and the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. At the New International Sopot Wagner Festival 2009 he sang his first Wotan Das Rheingold. The part of Amfortas Parsifal is to follow. The parts the artist is preparing include Amonasro Aida, Jochanaan Salome, Faninal Der Rosenkavalier. Werner Van Mechelen is particularly drawn to the Lied genre. Next to less familiar compositions, his repertoire includes all the great Lieder cycles. Most often he performs with the piano accompaniment of Jozef De Beenhouwer, Lucas Blondeel, Christel Kessels or Eric Schneider. Along with recordings for radio and television stations, in Belgium as well as abroad, and discs with Baroque music, Werner Van Mechelen also recorded CDs of Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc, Lodewijk Mortelmans and Peter Benoit. Le Roi d’Ys recently was released on Dynamic DVD. There are also complete CD recordings of Elias (Mendelssohn), Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Livietta e Tracollo (Pergolesi), Die Meistersinger von Nünberg and Das Rheingold.
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Tenth Prize
Zoë Hwang is a soprano, writer, and broadcast hostess. She graduated from the Juilliard School and also had American Opera Center Training. She won the bronze medal of the Queen Elisabeth Competition and attended festivals including the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), Flander's Festival (Belgium) and the Monte-Carlo Printemps des Arts (Monaco). She released a CD on the French label REM, with Richard Strauss and Berg Songs. As a piano accompanist, she worked for the Opéra Comique of Paris, Flanders Opera, and the Juilliard School. Since 1995 she is a presenter at Philharmonic Radio Taipei. She writes columns for the Performing Arts Magazine and Interior Magazine, had 8 books published, and is a creative coordinator for fashion.
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