Hein Meens

Hein Meens © Froukje HoltropTenor Hein Meens was born on April 24, 1949 in Nieuwenhagen (NL). He started his studies in piano and singing in 1971, at the Maastricht Conservatory. He graduated as a pianist in 1972. His voice teacher was Mya Besselink. He graduated in this direction in 1973 and 1974 (performing artist), both cum laude. In 1974, while still studying, he participated in the Internationale Vocal Competition ’s-Hertogenbosch, where he won the Toonkunst Vocalist’s Prize. In 1977 he was awarded the Prix d’Excellence for solo singing. In the same year, he won the Prize of the city of Maastricht, and the year there after the Silver Friend’s Laurel of the foundation Friends of the Concertgebouw and the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Oratorio singer

Meens started his career as oratorium singer in 1972, and became welknown for his role as the Evangelist in Bach’s passions. He sang the Evangelist in Bach’s Matthäus-Passion over 250 times. Furthermore, he participated in cantata performances in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam and the Kloosterkerk in The Hague. Later he specialized more in opera and song.

Opera repertoire

Meens' opera debut took place in 1978 with the Limburgs Symphonie Orkestra as Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro. In 1982 he debuted with opera Forum as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. Afterwards he sang opera roles with Opera Forum,  Nederlandse Reisopera (o.a. La Cenerentola, Albert Herring, Jevgeni Onegin), Opera Zuid, De Nederlandse Opera (o.a. Naima by Theo Loevendie, Symposion by Peter Schat and the opening production of the Muziektheater, in 1986: Otto Kettings Ithaka), The New Israeli Opera in tel Aviv, and in productions in Italy, France, Germany and New York.

Meens’ repertoire was broad: from Monteverdi to contemporary composers. He frequently sang in concertant opera performances, in The Netherlands and abroad. In 1993 he performed in New York in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. In Belgium he appeared in Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor and Die Zauberflöte. Additionally, he frequently appeared in radio- and television appearances.

Of his more modern repertoire, we present him here in two fragments of the opera Alzheimer, by Chiel Meijering, 2006:

At the day care

Jaap (Hein Meens) is told by his wife Ria (mezzo Eveline Karssen) that he will be brought to the day-care center. He asks when and where.

Being shaved

In this nightmare scene Jaap isn't able to shave himself anymore, and he wonders what the nurse doing with that knife…

Lieder singer

Meens was also a renowned interpreter of German and French song, making a good number of recordings with choirs and orchestras. A well known recording of Schubert's 'Die schöne Müllerin' was made with Jos van Immerseel at the pianoforte.

Hein Meens (Archief 401DutchDivas.nl)






In this recording he can be admired singing Schuberts 'Nachthelle':

Pianist, accompanist, vocal coach

Meens was teacher solo voice at the Maastricht Conservatory (1975-1986) and at the Amsterdam Conservatory (1986-2011). He gave master classes in the Netherlands and abroa, among which the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, in italy and South Korea.


As a conductorr, Meens directed the Heerlens Chamber Choir from 1970 to 1980. In March 2002 he conducted his first Matthäus-Passion. In Oktober 2005 he became conductor of the Amsterdams Westerkerk Church Choir. In January 2009 he appeared with the Cantorij of the Grote Kerk in Monnickendam.

Hein Meens © Westerkerkkoor

On the occasion of the 500th cantate tv-host Menne Vellinga peeked behind the scenes of the Wester Church Choir. During rehearsals for Bach's Hohe Messe of October 30, 2011, we can see conductor Meens in word & footage. Members of the orchestra, the choir as well as soloists make references. Immediately below we feature a short version of this portrait:

And for those interested we provide here the integral broadcast:

In addition, Meens was a welcome jury member at many a vocal competition, recently as president of the jury at the International Vocal Competition ’s-Hertogenbosch, where he himself had started his career. he also was part of the jury in Silver Friends Laureate of the friends of the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Hein Meens masterclass © Internationaal Vocalisten Concours ’s-Hertogenbosch.Hein Meens masterclass © Internationaal Vocalisten Concours ’s-Hertogenbosch.
Hein Meens masterclass © Internationaal Vocalisten Concours ’s-Hertogenbosch.
Hein Meens masterclass © Internationaal Vocalisten Concours ’s-Hertogenbosch.

Hein Meens passed away on february 10, 2012 at the age of 62.


With kind support of Froukje Holtrop

Hein Meens

Chronologie opera & operetteproducties

1978 Mozart Figaros Hochzeit (Don Curzio; Limburgs Symphonie Orkest/ Contactraad Limburgse Schouwburgen)
1980 Lehar Friederike (Goethe; LSO / CLS)
1982 Mozart Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio; Opera Forum)
1984 Rossini La Cenerentola (Don Ramiro; Forum)
1984 Britten Albert Herring (Albert Herring; Forum)
1985 Loevendie Naima (Nivard; De Nederlandse Opera)
1986 Mozart Don Giovanni (Don Ottavio; LSO / CLS)
1986 Tchaikovski Jevgeni Onjegin  (Lenski;  Forum)
1986 Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Kunz Vogelgesang; DNO)
1986 O. Ketting Ithaka (Father/ Friend I; DNO)
1986 Britten De schending van Lucretia (Korist; Forum)
1986 Ravel L’heure espagnole (Torquemada; DNO)
1987 Mozart Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Belmonte; LSO / CLS)
1987 Dallapiccola Ulisse (??; VARA-Matinee/ Holland Festival – concertant)
1987 Mozart La clemenza di Tito  (Tito; Forum)
1988 Beethoven Fidelio (Jaquino; Forum)
1989 Ravel L’heure espagnole (Torquemada; DNO)
1990 Wagner Parsifal (Erster Gralsritter; DNO)
1990 Monteverdi Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Eumete; DNO)
1991 Berlioz Benvenuto Cellini (Francesco; DNO)
1991 J. Strauss Die Fledermaus (Dr. Blind; DNO)
1991 Massenet Werther (Schmidt; Opera Zuid)
1991 Beethoven Fidelio (Erster Gefangener; DNO)
1992 Mozart Mitridate, re di Ponto (Arbate; DNO)
1992 Vir Broken strings (Second Judge; DNO)
1993 Monteverdi Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Eumete; DNO)
1993 Britten A midsummer night’s dream (Snout; DNO)
1993 R. Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos (Scaramuccio; Opera Zuid)
1993 Wagner Parsifal (Erster Gralsritter; DNO)
1994 Schat Symposion (Stationschef; DNO)
1994 Shostakovitsj Lady Macbeth van Mtsensk (Onderwijzer; DNO)
1994 J. Strauss Die Fledermaus (Dr. Blind; DNO)
1996 Weil Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (Jack O’Brien; Nationale Reisopera)
1998 Martinu Julietta (Commissaris /Postbode/ Boswachter; Opera Zuid)
1999 Wagner Tristan und Isolde (Ein Hirt; Reisopera)
2000 Janacek De zaak Makropulos (Vitek; Opera Zuid)
2001 Lehar Die lustige Witwe (Raoul de St. Brioche; Reisopera)
2002 Händel Ariodante  (Odoardo; Reisopera)
2002 Mozart Idomeneo (Arbace; Reisopera)
2003 Alphenaar Summer Okee (Watzo + piano; Xynix Opera)
2004 Mozart Die Zauberflöte (Monostatos; Opera Zuid)
2004 Van de Putte Wet Snow (Apollon; Reisopera)
2004 J. Strauss Die Fledermaus (Dr. Blind; Reisopera)
2006 Puccini Turandot (Altoum: Reisopera)
2006 Mijering Alzheimer  (??; Muziektheaterunie)
2006 Mozart Die Zauberflöte (Monostatos/Erster Priester; Viable)
2007 Conti Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena (Lope; Opera aan het IJ)
2010 Cerdi Un ballo in maschera (Un giudice; Reisopera)
2010 Xynix Opera Broers (Broer 3; Xynix Opera)
2010 Bartok Blauwbaard  (als dirigent; Holland Opera Xpress)
2010 Donizetti Don Pasquale (Un notario; Reisopera)

Radio-opnamen Hein Meens

14-06-1977 C. Franck Les Béatitudes (Amsterdam, Cgb • OO/Montgomery)
24-09-1977 W.A. Mozart: div. (Bocholt, Parochiekerk • RKO/Atherton)   
15-10-1978 (Den Bosch, Casino • OO/Keuschnig)    L. Janácek: Kata Kabanova
10-03-1979 Szymanowski: Stabat Mater; Kodály: Missa brevis (Amsterdam, Cgb • RFO/Katlewicz)  
25-03-1979 Massenet: Werther (Den Bosch, Casino • RFO/ Fournet)         
31-03-1979 Roussel: Padmâvatî (Amsterdam, Cgb • RFO/ Fournet)           
13-06-1979 Stravinsky: div. (Utrecht, Geertekerk RKO/ Atherton)      
06-10-1979 Poulenc/Britten/Boulanger (Amsterdam, Cgb • OO/ Montgomery)    
11-10-1980 Verdi: Alzira (Amsterdam, Cgb • OO/ Bakels)               
08-01-1982 Falla: La vida breve (Hilversum, VARA 1 • RFO/ Garcia-Navarro)
24-09-1983 Ravel: Myrrha (Amsterdam, Cgb • RFO/ Zinman)                
08-10-1983 Milhaud: Christophe Colomb (Amsterdam, Cgb • OO/ De Leeuw)      
21-10-1983 Bach: Vom guten Hirten (Amsterdam, Westerkerk • RKO/ Montgomery)
13-10-1984 Zemlinsky: Eine florentinische Tragödie (Amsterdam, Cgb • RFO/ De Leeuw)
20-10-1984 Mozart: Lucio Silla (Amsterdam, Cgb • RKO/ Montgomery)
22-03-1985 Schütz / Scarlatti (Loenen a/d Vecht, Grote Kerk • RKO/ Montgomery)    
16-11-1985 Sjostakovitsj: Lady Macbeth van Mtsensk (Amsterdam, Cgb • RSO/ Lewis)  
13-06-1987 Dallapiccola: Ulisse (Amsterdam, Cgb • RSO/ Peskó)            
08-01-1988 Bruch: Das Lied von der Glocke (Ùtrecht, Vredenburg • RSO/ Montgomery)
12-03-1988 Wagner: Das Rheingold (Amsterdam, Cgb • RFO/ De Waart)
14-03-1988 Wagner: Das Rheingold (Utrecht, Vredenburg • RFO/ De Waart)
06-05-1988 Bruckner: Mis nr. 1 in d kl.t. (Hilversum, VARA 1 • RSO/ Lewis)              
27-05-1988 Haydn: Cäcilienmesse (Hilversum, VARA 1 • RSO/ Montgomery)  
02-07-1988 Bruckner: Mis nr. 3 in f kl.t. (Haarlem, Bavokerk • RSO/ Montgomery)  
03-12-1988 Schat: Symposion Scène 2 (Amsterdam, Beurs • RFO/ Dufallo)            
29-04-1989 Schönberg: Die Jakobsleiter (Amsterdam, Cgb • RFO/ Vonk)              
30-04-1989 Schönberg: Die Jakobsleiter (Utrecht, Vredenburg • RFO/ Vonk)              
18-01-1990 Martin: Le vin herbé (Amsterdam, Cgb • RKO/ Klee)                  
03-03-1990 Schreker: Die Gezeichneten (Amsterdam, Cgb • RFO/ De Waart)          
11-03-1990 Korngold: Die tote Stadt (Utrecht, Vredenburg • RSO/ Lewis)                 
18-03-1990 Schubert: Mis nr. 2 in G gr.t. (Utrecht, Vredenburg • RKO/ Bolton)             
28-04-1990 Weill – Die sieben Todsünden; Der Zar lässt sich photographieren (Amsterdam, Cgb • RSO/ De Leeuw)
11-05-1990 Pijper: Merlijn  (Rotterdam, de Doelen • RSO/ Porcelijn)
02-10-1990 Mendelssohn: Elias (Utrecht, Vredenburg • RSO/ Lewis)
09-11-1990 Mozart: Requiem (Amsterdam, Westerkerk • RKO/Nowak)
26-06-1991 Nono: No hay caminos; Stravinsky: Canticum sacrum (Amsterdam, Cgb • RFO/Vis)
25-01-1992 Schat: Symposion Scènes (Amsterdam Cgb • RSO/Montgomery)
15-05-1992 Schwantner/ Foss (Utrecht, Vredenburg • RKO/Foss)
21-11-1993 Boulez / Boulanger (Amsterdam, Beurs • RFO/Spanjaard)             

RFO=Radio Filharmonisch Orkest                                  
RSO=Radio Symfonie Orkest                                                                                  
RKO=Radio Kamerorkest                                                  
OO=Omroep Orkest
(gegevens ontleend aan Muziekcentrum van de Omroep, Hilversum)

Verder verleende Hein Meens zijn medewerking aan dans en muziektheaterproducties:

1989 Evening (Introdans)
1990 Le vertige (muziektheaterproductie van Les Bureaux Plukker).
1991 Stravinsky Les noces (Het Nationale Ballet)