Werner Van Mechelen - Biography

Versatile Belgian bass-baritone - Werner Van Mechelen has achieved great success in opera as well as in concert as in recital.


Introducing Werner Van Mechelen

The multi-faceted bass-baritone Werner Van Mechelen has achieved great success in opera as well as in concerts and as a recital singer.

In the summer of 2017, Werner Van Mechelen made his successful debut at the Bayreuth Festival with the role of Klingsor in Wagner's PARSIFAL. For the festival 2020/21 there is already a re-invitation for the artist.

In 2019, the artist is invited by the NDR Hamburg under the direction of Alan Gilbert at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg for the leading role in Ligetis Gran Macabre. At the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse he will perform the role of music teacher in a new production of ARIADNE ON NAXOS.

Guest appearances have also taken him recently as Alberich in THE RING DES NIBELUNGEN to the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Hamburg State Opera, as Wolfram in TANNHÄUSER to the Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken, as Heerrufer in LOHENGRIN at La Monnaie in Brussels, to the Hamburg State Opera as Don Pizarro in FIDELIO , as Alberich in SIEGFRIED at the Tyrolean Festival Erl and at the Komische Oper Berlin as Pandolphe in Massenet's CENDRILLON.

In addition, Werner Van Mechelen is also very successful in the concert field: For example as a guest of the Freiburg Bach Choir for Bach's CHRISTMAS ORATORIUM. For the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War Werner Van Mechelen has put together a song program IN FLANDERS FIELDS that reminds of this historical event under the motto "No more war".

Focus on the German repertoire of Wagner and R. Strauss

His opera repertoire extends from the Baroque, such as Telemann’s PIMPINONE and Pergolesi’s LIVIETTA E TRACOLLO, to great Mozartian roles like Count Almaviva, Figaro, Guglielmo, Don Alfonso, Don Giovanni, Leporello and Papageno. To this he has added roles from Puccini and Verdi: Michele and Gianni Schicchi in IL TRITTICO, Rigoletto, Amonasro, Ford, Berg’s WOZZECK and world-premieres by composers Philippe Boesmans, Pascal Dusapin, Wim Henderickx and Christian Jost.



He has interpreted many times and with great success the role of Alberich DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie Liège (also shown on the Belgian television channel RTBF), De Nationale Opera Amsterdam, Opera Vlaanderen Antwerp-Ghent, Teatro La Fenice Venice. He sang his first Wotan RHEINGOLD at the Wagner Festival in Sopot.

Richard Strauss

Faninal DER ROSENKAVALIER and Musiklehrer ARIADNE OF NAXOS at the Opéra National du Rhin Strasbourg-Mulhouse, Jochanaan SALOME at the Opéra Monte-Carlo, Mandryka ARABELLA at Göteborgs Operan and at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie Liège.

Belgium and The Netherlands

Werner Van Mechelen has a close relationship with the opera houses of Belgium and The Netherlands.

At La Monnaie Brussels he has sung the title role Berg’s WOZZECK, Nekrotzar Ligeti’s GRAND MACABRE, Sancho Panza Massenet’s DON QUICHOTTE, the Chambellan YVONNE and the older son AU MONDE by Boesmans. Opéra Royal de Wallonie Liège saw him as DON GIOVANNI, Gyges KÖNIG KANDAULES, Karnac ROI D’YS, Fluth LUSTIGE WEIBER VON WINDSOR.

Opera Vlaanderen Antwerp-Ghent invited him for Vater HÄNSEL UND GRETEL, Ford FALSTAFF, Amonasro AIDA, Geisterbote DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, Amfortas PARSIFAL and Vater/Richter RUMOR by Christian Jost.

At De Nationale Opera Amsterdam he has sung a.o Varlaam BORIS GODUNOV, Tierbändiger/Athlet LULU and Alberich DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN.

Rest of Europe

Furthermore he was invited to the Opéra d’Avignon (Pizarro), the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Nekrotzar GRAND MACABRE and Cecco del Vecchio RIENZI), Theater Basel (Méphistophélès DAMNATION DE FAUST), as well as to the opera houses of Paris, Lyon, Nancy, Zürich, Cologne, Dortmund, Mainz etc.


He has sung under the baton of important Baroque conductors such as Sigiswald Kuijken, Ton Koopman and Marc Minkowski, as well as under Hartmut Haenchen, Lothar Koenigs, Friedemann Layer, Antonio Pappano, Stefan Soltesz, Jeffrey Tate to name some.

Concerts and Lied-recitals

The artist has a particular affection for concerts and Lied-recitals: his concert repertoire extends from BACH JOHANNES-PASSION through romantic works such as ELIAS and BRAHMS DEUTSCHES REQUIEM to the SONG CYCLES and SYMPHONIES of Mahler.

His Lied repertoire includes not only the great SONG CYCLES of Schubert, Schumann and Brahms but also repertoire by less known composers. He has worked with Eric Schneider, Lucas Blondeel and Jozef De Beenhouwer.


Recordings show the large variety of his repertoire: Lied CDs – with works by Schubert, Strauss, Debussy, Poulenc, etc. / Oratorio - Mendelssohn ELIAS / Opera: DON GIOVANNI, LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, LIVIETTA E TRACOLLO (Pergolesi), DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG and RHEINGOLD. DVD - Lalo LE ROI D’YS / Massenet DON QUICHOTTE / Ligeti LE GRAND MACABRE.

Masterclasses and prizes

Werner Van Mechelen studied at the Lemmens Institute at Leuven with Roland Bufkens. He participated in Masterclasses of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Robert Holl, Mitsuko Shirai, Hartmut Höll and Malcolm King. He gained several international singing prizes, having participated in the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition (Brussels), the International Vocalists Competiton (‘s-Hertogenbosch), the International Singing Competition (Toulouse), the Viñas Competition (Barcelona) and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

Copyright © 2016 Werner Van Mechelen. All rights reserved.