Ariën Artists - Hubert Claessens - English biography



Hubert (Huub) CLAESSENS, Bass-Baritone

© photos: oskar schmidt


Born in Holland, Mr. Hubert (Huub) Claessens studied at the Conservatory of Music in Maastricht with Mrs Mya Besselink where he graduated “Cum Laude” in Voice, Opera and Classical Saxophone and he was awarded with the Edmond Hustinx Prize 1986. He then studied with Margreet Honig. During the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels 1988 he was distinguished as Third Laureate and was also awarded with the special “European Prize of the Art Song”, with highest recommandation by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. This led to many  songrecitals all over the world, among others in Brussels, Vienna, Paris, Dublin and Tel-Aviv.

Since decades he has taken part in main opera productions as : Don Giovanni (Leporello), Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro), Zauberflöte, (Papageno, Sprecher and Sarastro) and La Clemenza di Tito (Publio) ; Cosi fan tutte (Don Alfonso) many of which he recorded a.o. with La petite Bande.
More recently he created the French premiere of "Blanche-Neige" (role : "Le miroir') by German composer Marius-Felix Lange at Opéra national du Rhin (Strasbourg) with revival at Athénée-Théâtre Louis Jouvet (Paris, April 2013). Other recent creations include “Der Turm”, by IRCAM composer Claude Lenners, commissioned by the Grand Théâtre du Luxembourg (directed van Waut Koeken) ; Asa in the opera "Andreas weent" by the Dutch composer Peter-Jan Wagemans, together with Radio Kamer Filharmonie led by Schoenwandt > Concertgebouw A'Dam, Vara-Matinee 20 Oct 2012. Huub Claessens already participated in the world premiere of Peter-Jan Wagemans' opera "De legende" at DNO Amsterdam (2011).

Furthermore Huub Claessens appeared at the Salzburger Festspiele, the Wiener Staatsoper and Le Théâtre du Châtelet, 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 this point 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. One of Huub's favourite parts is Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress by Strawinsky, which he sang most in Amsterdam and in Berlin (Konzerthaus), conducted by Jac van Steen. With Pierre Audi he participated in “Broken Strings” and “Snatched by the gods” by Param Vir and in the title role of “Hiero” by Guus Janssen (world creation). Huub Claessens also interpreted Lucifer in "Adam in ballingschap" the latest opera by Rob Zuidam at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. Maestro Laurent Petitgirard invited Huub to sing the title role in his opera “Le Guru”, that wil be revied in Paris in 2013/14.

Besides singing he played and plays many contempory compositions on saxophone, some especially written for and recorded with Huub 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.Huub Claessens is a versatile artist who finds challenge to be authentic in any period or style of music, reflecting in his repertoire ranging from from Schuetz to Penderecki and even Gershwin and Cole Porter. Equally at home in opera as musical, he’s been performing amongst others Dr. Doolittle in My Fair Lady.   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.

Huub Claessens can look back on an impressive number of baroque productions : “Admeto”, “Jephha”,  “Imeneo" and “Samson”. This gave him the opportunity to work with Nicholas Mcgegan, Roy Goodman, Charles Farncombe and others. 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. He participated as well in their 1995 European tour with 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”, at Festwochen der Alte Musik in Innsbruck, eventually he pariticpated in concert tours to 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. This brings us to France, to Jean-Claude Malgoire and his orchestra "La grande Ecurie & la Chambre du Roy". Huub Claessens participated in a large number of his productions : Don Giovanni (Leporello), Le Nozze di Figaro (Figaro), Zauberflöte, (Papageno, Sprecher and Sarastro) and La Clemenza di Tito (Publio). In 1997 they invited him to produce, sing and conduct a lo ng tour with concert-arias by Mozart, the charming opera “Il Maestro di Capella” by Cimarosa and some instrumental pieces by Mozart. This was after Mr. Claessens made his conducting debut with the Noordholland Philharmonic Orchestra in Haarlem.

Apart from all this Huub Claessens is well-known as a concert singer. He performed the St. John’s Passion, the St. Matthew's Passion (a.o. 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.

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