Werner van Mechelen (bas, bariton)
The multi-faceted bass-baritone Werner van Mechelen has achieved great success in grand opera as well as concerts and the more intimate Lieder (Art Song).
His opera repertoire extends from the baroque, such as Telemann’s Pimpinone and Tracollo in Pergolesi’s Lievietta e Tracollo, to great Mozartian roles like Count Almavira, Figaro, Guglielmo, Don Alfonso, Don Giovanni, Leporello and Papageno. To this he has added roles from Puccini and Verdi – Michele and Gianni Schicchi in Il Trittico, Amonasro in Aïda and Ford in Falstaff – not forgetting masterpieces of the 20th century such as Berg’s Wozzeck and new world-creations.
Perhaps the summit of his career to date has been in the German repertoire:
- Wagner: Wolfram in Tannhäuser, Kothner in The Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Amfortas in Parsifal as well as Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde. He has interpreted many times and with great success the role of Alberich in Wagner’s The Ring series: at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie (also shown on the television channel RTBF), the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp and Ghent, the Fenice at Venice. He sang his first Wotan in Rheingold at the Wagner Festival in Sopot.
- Strauss: Faninal in Rosenkavalier and the Music Director in Ariadne of Naxos at the Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg, St John in Salome at the Opera of Monte Carlo, Mandryka in Arabella at both the Opera of Göteborg and the Opéra Royal de Wallonie at Liège.
Werner is much in demand in the opera houses of his native Belgium and Holland. At La Monnaie in Brussels he has interpreted the title roles in Berg’s Wozzeck and Ligeti’s Grand Macabre (Nekrotzar), he has also sung the part of Sancho Pansa in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, and the Chambellan of Yvonne de Boesmans. For the Vlaamse Opera, at both Antwerp and Ghent he has interpreted Besenbinder in Humperdink‘s Hansel and Gretel, Ford in Falstaff and Amonasro in AÏda (both Verdi), and Geisterbote in Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten. At the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam he has sung Varlaam in Musorsky’s Boris Godunov and both the Tierbändiger and the Athlete in Berg’s Lulu.
Across the rest of Europe, he has sung the roles of Don Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio at the Opéra d’Avignon, continued his acclaimed interpretation of Nekrotzar in Ligeti’s Grand Macabre at the Liceu in Barcelona, as well as in Paris, Zurich, Cologne etc.
He has sung under the baton of important Baroque conductors such as Sigiswald Kuijken, Ton Koopman and Marc Minkowski, as well as the Maestros Hartmut Haenchen, Antonio Pappano, Jeffrey Tate etc.
Werner has a particular affection for concert recitals and also for Lieder:
His concert repertoire extends from Bach’s St John’s Passion through romantic works such as Elias and Brahms’ German Requiem, to those of Mahler and other great (or, in some cases, little known) composers of both the 20th and 21st Century.
His Lieder repertoire is abundant, including not only the great Song Cycles of Schubert, Schumann and Brahms but also, once again, rarely heard works. He is actually accompanied by Josef De Beenhouwer , Lucas Blondeel and Eric Schneider.
Recordings : Lieder CDs – The works of Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc, etc. / Oratorio Elias, Mendelssohn / Opera Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, Livietta e Tracollo (Pergolèse), The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and Rheingold.
DVD - Le Roi d’Ys (Eduard Lalo) / Don Quichotte, Massenet / Le grand Macabre, Ligeti.
Werner van Mechelen studied at the Lemmens Institute at Leuven with Roland Bufkens and has participated in the Masterclasses of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwartzkopf, Robert Holl, Mitsuko Shirai, Hartmut Höll and Malcolm King. He has gained several international singing prizes, having participated in the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Prize (Brussels), the International Vocalists Competiton (‘s-Hertogenbosch), the International Singing Competition (Toulouse), the Vinas Competition (Barcelona) and the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.