José van Dam

Biography

Born: Aug 25, 1940  
José van Dam has recorded nearly 150 roles, appeared in multiple world premieres, received most of the awards given to singers, is one of the most respected musicians of his generation -- and almost nobody outside the world of classical music has even heard his name. His presence is rather austere, and his singing is notable for subtlety and attention to detail. His bass-baritone voice is rich, and his phrasing is impeccable in nearly every Read more musical style, from Baroque to contemporary. He is an intense though introverted actor, and even starred in Le Maitre de Musique, a film about a reclusive singer who retires from the operatic stage to teach. While his somewhat limited bottom range makes the lowest notes of the bass roles problematic, his musicianship and sense of drama more than suffice to win him critical acclaim as Philip II and as Boris.
Unusually for an opera singer, his family was not a musical one. When he was 11, a family friend encouraged him to join the church choir. He began to study sight-singing and piano, and at 13 he became the pupil of Frederic Anspach of the Brussels Conservatory. He entered the Conservatory at the age of 17; won the first prize of the Conservatory the next year; at 20 won first prizes at the Liege and Toulouse competitions; and was engaged by the Paris Opera in 1962, where he made his operatic debut in Berlioz's Les Troyens, as Priam and the Voice of Mercury. In 1964 he sang the role of Escamillo for the first time, appearing in this role countless times in the future and recording it no fewer than four times. In 1965, he joined the Geneva Opera, where he sang the role of Maitre Fal in the world premiere of Milhaud's La Mère Coupable. Lorin Maazel engaged him to sing in his recording of Ravel's L'heure Espagnol on Deutsche Grammophon and invited him to become a member of the Deutsche Oper. He made his La Scala and Covent Garden debuts in 1973; in 1974, was named a Berliner Kammersänger and won the German Music Critics' Prize; and in 1975, made his Metropolitan Opera debut.
During the 1970s and 1980s, he continued to add new roles to his repertoire and began his long-standing partnership with Herbert von Karajan and with the Salzburg Festival. As he and his voice matured, he dropped certain roles, such as Escamillo and Figaro, and added roles such as Philip II, the Flying Dutchman, and Simon Boccanegra. In 1983, he sang the title role in the world premiere of Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise. He also continued to perform and record oratorio repertoire and became a noted interpreter of German lieder and French song, particularly the music of Henri Duparc. In the mid-1990s, he began again to explore new operatic repertoire, portraying Scarpia for the first time in 1995. He fared well in the inevitable comparisons to Gobbi. Both took a similar approach to roles -- studying the historical and literary sources for the character, but regarding them as supplementary to what the composer and librettist created.
He recorded widely for many labels. His aria recital CD on Forlane displays his versatility as an opera singer and his dramatic power. In the Wagner repertoire, his Amfortas in Karajan's recording on DG is a vivid depiction of that tormented king. In French opera, his Don Quichotte (EMI) under Plasson, brings out the humor, nobility, and pathos of the title role. He also was an admirable Leporello in the Losey film of Don Giovanni. Read less
Browse 101-125 of 127 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Le Meilleur de l'Operette
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 574250 Release Date: 04/02/2002   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Franz Lehár,  Emmerich Kálmán,  Oscar Straus  ... 
    Performer:  Liliane Berton,  Jacqueline Brumaire,  Michel Roux,  Jean-Christophe Benoit  ... 
    Conductor:  Frank Pourcel,  Jean Doussard,  Yvon Leenart,  Pierre Dervaux  ... 
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  • 102.
    Roussel: Evocations & Resurrection / Plasson, Gedda, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 65564 Release Date: 01/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Albert Roussel
    Performer:  Nicolai Gedda,  Nathalie Stutzmann,  José van Dam
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Toulouse Capitole Chorus
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  • 103.
    Massenet: Don Quichotte / Plasson, Berganza, Van Dam, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics Special Import   Catalog: 54767 Release Date: 09/04/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  José van Dam,  Marie-Ange Todorovitch,  Christian Papis,  Jean-Claude Barbier  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Toulouse Capitole Chorus
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  • 104.
    The #1 Opera Album Vol 1
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467632 Release Date: 02/27/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Nucci,  Andrea Bocelli,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Michele Pertusi  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Patané,  Leone Magiera,  Sir Georg Solti,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 105.
    Cavalieri: Rappresentazione / Märzendorfer, Kerns, Sarroca, Salzburg
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 517992 Release Date: 12/13/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emilio de Cavalieri
    Performer:  Robert Kerns,  Suzanne Sarroca,  Dieter Ellenbeck,  Helge Von Bömches  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernst Märzendorfer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra,  Salzburg Chamber Choir
    CD: $24.99
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  • 106.
    Strauss: Salome / Karajan, Behrens, Van Dam, Baltsa, Et Al
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 67159 Release Date: 09/21/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Horst Nitsche,  Karl-Walter Böhm,  Wieslaw Ochman  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 107.
    Verdi: Il Trovatore / Karajan, Domingo, Kabaiwanska, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61951 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Ewald Aichberger,  Fiorenza Cossotto,  Raina Kabaivanska,  Piero Cappuccilli  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 108.
    Simply The Best Night At The Opera / Algana, Bartoli, Et Al
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 26499 Release Date: 07/06/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Samuel Ramey,  Annick Massis,  Marilyn Horne,  Håkan Hagegård  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Marc Minkowski,  Lawrence Foster,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Le Concert des Tuileries,  Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 109.
    More Tears From Heaven - Bach, Handel, Rachmaninoff, Et Al
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 63450 Release Date: 03/09/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Carissimi  ... 
    Performer:  Leontyne Price,  José van Dam,  Dame Janet Baker,  Veriano Luchetti
    Conductor:  Richard Westenburg,  Enoch zu Guttenberg,  Sir Georg Solti,  Konrad Junghänel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Sacra,  Tölz Boys Choir,  Munich Bach Collegium  ... 
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  • 110.
    Mahler: Complete Symphonies & Orchestral Songs / Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 459080 Release Date: 11/10/1998   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  James King,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Trudeliese Schmidt,  Gerti Zeumer  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Vienna Boys' Choir  ... 
    CD: $88.99
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  • 111.
    Delibes: Lakmé / Plasson, Dessay, Kunde, Van Dam, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56569 Release Date: 10/20/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Léo Delibes
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Gregory Kunde,  José van Dam,  Delphine Haidan  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Chorus,  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
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  • 112.
    Gounod: Roméo Et Juliette / Plasson, Gheorghiu, Alagna
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56123 Release Date: 04/07/1998   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Charles Gounod
    Performer:  Angela Gheorghiu,  José van Dam,  Roberto Alagna,  Simon Keenlyside  ... 
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Chorus,  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra
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  • 113.
    Grosse Mozartsänger Vol 3 - Opernarien 1961-1982
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 394301 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  James Morris,  Francisco Araiza,  Margaret Marshall,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Karl Böhm,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 114.
    Grosse Mozartsänger Vol 4 - Konzertarien 1956-1970
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 394401 Release Date: 09/19/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  José van Dam,  Ileana Cotrubas,  Peter Schreier,  Ingeborg Hallstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernhard Paumgartner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Salzburg Mozarteum Camerata Academica
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  • 115.
    The Music Teacher / José Van Dam, Ronald Zollman, André Vandernoot, Et Al
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 28801 Release Date: 09/27/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  José van Dam,  Jérôme Pruett,  Dinah Bryant,  David Miller  ... 
    Conductor:  Ronald Zollman,  André Vandernoot
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Belgian Radio and Television Orchestra
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  • 116.
    Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy - My Favorite Opera For Children
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443817 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Julia Hamari,  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Lucia Popp,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Silvio Varviso,  Richard Bonynge,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Boys' Choir,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 117.
    Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy - My Favorite Opera For Everyone
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443818 Release Date: 08/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Jacques Offenbach,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Sherrill Milnes,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Huguette Tourangeau,  Dame Joan Sutherland  ... 
    Conductor:  Silvio Varviso,  Giuseppe Patané,  Richard Bonynge,  Nicola Rescigno  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 118.
    Karajan Gold - Beethoven: Symphonie No 9 / Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439006 Release Date: 10/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Janet Perry,  Agnes Baltsa,  Vinson Cole,  José van Dam
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
    CD: $22.49
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  • 119.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander / Karajan, Van Dam, Vejzovic
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 64650 Release Date: 05/11/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  José van Dam,  Dunja Vejzovic,  Kurt Moll,  Peter Hofmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Opera Chorus
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  • 120.
    Fauré: Cantique, Requiem / Plasson, Hendricks
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 47317 Release Date: 01/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré
    Performer:  José van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Arlette Amyel
    Conductor:  Michel Plasson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Capitole Orchestra,  Orféon Donostiarra
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  • 121.
    Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten / Solti, Behrens, Domingo
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436243 Release Date: 04/14/1992   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss
    Performer:  Reinhild Runkel,  Alberto Dohmen,  José van Dam,  Hildegard Behrens  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Boys' Choir
    CD: $66.99
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  • 122.
    Duruflé: Requiem, Four Motets / Corboz, Berganza, Van Dam
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45230 Release Date: 02/03/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Duruflé
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  José van Dam
    Conductor:  Michel Corboz,  Jean Sourisse
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colonne Concerts Orchestra,  Colonne Concerts Chorus,  Audite Nova Vocal Ensemble
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  • 123.
    Beethoven: Symphony No 9 / Karajan, Tomowa-Sintow, Baltsa, Schreier, Van Dam
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415832 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Anna Tomowa-Sintow,  José van Dam,  Peter Schreier,  Agnes Baltsa
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Singverein,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 124.
    Bizet: Carmen - Highlights / Karajan, Baltsa, Carreras
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 413322 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet
    Performer:  José Carreras,  Agnes Baltsa,  Michel Marinpouille,  Alexander Malta  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Paris Opera Chorus,  Schöneberg Boys Choir
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  • 125.
    Wagner: Parsifal / Karajan, Hofmann, Vejzovic, Moll, Van Dam
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 413347 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Dunja Vejzovic,  Siegmund Nimsgern,  Victor von Halem,  Claes H. Ahnsjö  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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