Erna Spoorenberg, together with Jo Vincent and Elly Ameling, is one of the great triumvirate of Dutch sopranos. All three vocalists are known for their “silvery” soprano sound. Spoorenberg was a versatile artist. She could take pride in a great operatic career whose pinnacle came with the role of Mélisande ...
Biography Erna Spoorenberg
Erna Spoorenberg, together with Jo Vincent and Elly Ameling, is one of the great triumvirate of Dutch sopranos. All three vocalists are known for their “silvery” soprano sound. Spoorenberg was a versatile artist. She could take pride in a great operatic career whose pinnacle came with the role of Mélisande in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. But she was also known for her performances in Naarden and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw of Bach's St Matthew Passion. And the lieder recitals she gave around the world with the pianists Géza Frid and Thom Bollen also contributed to her fame. Spoorenberg was praised for her light, pure, high soprano voice combined with an impeccable technique and excellent diction. Some count her among the best Mozart and Verdi interpreters of her time.
Erna Spoorenberg is born on April 11 in Yogyakarta, Java, the daughter of a banker. She lives in Brabant for most of her youth. The arts are given great attention in her home; her father sings, her mother plays the piano, and Spoorenberg and her sister are brought to concerts from an early age. They also become acquainted with French and German when still quite young. Spoorenberg initially has piano and singing lessons with Jeanne Landré, the sister of the composer Willem Landré, but they are a failure: “She only let me sing exercises and scales. For a lively, animated child, that was far too adult and dreary. (…) After a year I told my mother in tears: I never want to sing again”. (NRC Handelsblad, March 17, 2000) Later, she has violin lessons with Julius Röntgen Jr., and she enters the Amsterdam Conservatory as a violinist, though she also has singing lessons with Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius. It is only when she takes the role of Pamina in Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' during an opera class that she begins to see herself as destined for a singing career.
Spoorenberg makes her official debut singing Mozart's 'Exsultate Jubilate', a piece she was to often impress listeners with.
After auditioning for Karl Böhm Spoorenberg joins the Vienna State Opera. There she sings various roles, and from this grows her impressive international career as an opera and concert singer. With the Netherlands Opera she sings among other roles Violetta in 'La Traviata' and Mélisande in 'Pelléas et Mélisande'. She also shines in various Mozart operas, and celebrates triumphs in such cities as Hamburg, Vienna, New York, London, Milan, and Moscow.
Spoorenberg sings the soprano part in Bach's 'St Matthew Passion' with the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Eduard van Beinum. She continues to do this each year until 1971, upholding a tradition Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius and Jo Vincent observed before her.
Spoorenberg gives a sensational performance in Hamburg as Mélisande in Claude Debussy's opera. In the book 'Daar lig je dan …' [There You Are, Then], published by Bert Bakker, she describes the life of a singer.
Spoorenberg becomes a singing teacher at the Brussels Conservatory. She gives her farewell performance in the role of Konstanze in Mozart's 'Die Enführung aus dem Serail'.
Spoorenberg has a serious car accident and after devotes herself to teaching at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and elsewhere.
Spoorenberg is a regular panel member on the Radio 4 programme 'Diskotabel', in which she and Jan Willem Hofstra discuss new recordings.
Erna Spoorenberg is named a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Erna Spoorenberg dies at age 78 on March 18 in Vught, where she resides.
Discography Erna Spoorenberg
In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.
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