Bert Bijnen

Bert Bijnen, bariton (foto Harbrink)

photo Harbrink

Bert Bijnen made his opera debut with Opera Forum, the predecessor of the present-day Nationale Reisopera, a company which he joined for over 12 years. The debut took place on October 30th 1955 in the Twentse Schouwburg at Enschede with the opera De barber of Sevilla, in which Bert Bijnen performed the role of Fiorello. He joined this company until 1967.

His debut with the Nederlandse Opera he made on August 25th 1961 in the Amsterdamse Stadsschouwburg as Wagner in Faust of Gounod. He would sing for both companies. He performed roles as Rigoletto, Giorgio Germont (Traviata), Vargas (La forza del destino), Amonasro (Aïda), Nabucco and Renato (Un ballo in maschera) of Verdi; Marcello (Bohème), Bonzo (Butterfly), Scarpia (Tosca) of Puccini; Don Giovanni, Der Sprecher (Die Zaubeflöte), Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) and count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) of Mozart; Eschenbach (Tannhäuser), Veit Pogner (Die Meistersinger), Donner (Das Rheingold), Holländer (Der fliegende Holländer), Wotan (Die Walküre) and Telramund (Lohengrin) of Wagner.

Furthermore he sang a.o. Don Fernando and Don Pizarro in Beethoven's Fidelio, Bluebeard (Bartok), Boris Godoenov, Escamillo (Carmen), Peter in Hänsel und Gretel, Der Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos (Strauss), but also light parts as Ein Bonze in Viktoria und ihr Husar, Homonay in Der Zigeunerbaron and Ollendorf in Der Bettelstudent.

Bert Bijnen als 'der Musiklehrer' in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, 1971

Bert Bijnen as 'der Musiklehrer' in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, 1971

Bert Bijnen co-operated in several productions of the Holland Festival. In 1962 as Tereus in Philomela of Hendrik Andriessen, in 1965 as Armand in Jean Lévecq of Guillaume Landré, in 1967 as Plutone in L'Orfeo of Monteverdi and in 1969 as L'empereur in Le rossignol of Strawinsky. He appeared also in opera companies abroad. His last appearance in the Netherlands was at January 13th 1973. He sang then the title role in Bluebeards Castle of Bela Bartok. An one-act play with only two roles ... a masterpiece. Judith was performed by Nelly Morpurgo and the prologue was spoken by the actor Jules Croiset.

Bert Bijnen died on September 23th 1973 in Mainz at the age of 51.