After obtaining a pedagogical diploma, Belgian tenor Yves Saelens studied at the Brussels Royal Conservatoire of Music with Dina Grossberger, where he obtained the Higher Diplomas for Singing and Lyric Art, and at the Juilliard Opera Center in New York with Ed Zambara. He won the “Concours Nany Phillipart ‘96”, “Jeugd en Muziek Vlaanderen ‘97”, “New York Oratorio Society Competition ‘97” and the “Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition ‘97”; In Salzburg, he became second laureate of the “International Mozart Competition ‘99”. He was elected “Young Musician of the Year 2004” by the Union of Belgian Music Press.


He has participated in masterclasses with Ernst Haefliger, Ruben Lifschitz and Martin Isepp; at the Steans Institute Chicago with Christoph Eschenbach, Peter Schreier, Ian Partridge, Roger Vignoles and David Owen Norris; at the Music Academy of the West with Marilyn Horne, Warren Jones and Frank Lopardo; at the Juilliard School with Christa Ludwig and James Levine and at La Monnaie with Helmut Deutsch.


Yves Saelens has been a soloist in many cantatas and oratorios throughout Europe, North America and Asia. His repertoire includes works by Haydn (Die Schöpfung, Die Jahreszeiten), Haendel (Messiah), Bach (the Passionen, Weihnachtsoratorium), Beethoven (9th Symphony, Misssa Solemnis), Mendelssohn (Paulus), Schumann (Das Paradies und die Peri, Der Rose Pilgerfahrt), Rossini (Petite Messe Solennelle, Stabat Mater), Berlioz (Requiem, Te Deum), Puccini (Messa di Gloria), Verdi (Requiem), Orff (Carmina Burana), Britten (War Requiem, Serenade, Nicolascantata), A.L.Webber (Requiem), Martin (In Terra Pax), Mozart (Requiem, Grosse Messe), Bruckner, Salieri, Dvorak, Benoit...


He participated in recordings of Der Tod Jesu (Telemann), Carmina Burana (Orff), the Serenade for Tenor and Horn (Britten), Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), L’Enfance du Christ (Berlioz), Lucie de Lammermoor (Donizetti), La Capricciosa corretta (Martin y Soler), Impressions de Pelleas (Debussy), Wuthering Heights (Herrmann) and the Kosegarten Song Cycle (Schubert), among others. He made solo recordings with Lieder by Robert Franz (Etcetera), together with pianist Jan Vermeulen; Goethe Songs by Hugo Wolf (Eufoda), Romanze by Francesco Paolo Tosti (Eufoda), Wehmut und Liebeshauch, with lieder by Beethoven, Schumann, Grieg and Strauss (Eufoda), and This Wing’d Hour (Phaedra), with songcycles by Quilter, Vaughan-Williams, Britten and Finzi, all with pianist Inge Spinette.


An active recitalist, Yves Saelens has performed a.o. Schumann’s Dichterliebe, the Liederkreise and Kerner-lieder, Beethoven’s An Die Ferne Geliebte, Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, Winterreise and Schwanengesang, Brahms’ Die Schöne Magelone and Britten’s Illuminations and Nocturne. He performed Vaughan-Williams’ Songs of Travel, accompanied by the Belgian National Orchestra, and his On Wenlock Edge, with the Penderecki String Quartet, in a Marilyn Horne Foundation Recital. He sung Mahler’s Lied von der Erde with the Opera Orchestra de Tours and with the ASKO Schönberg Ensemble Amsterdam. He also performed and recorded this work with Het Collectief, transcribed and conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw. 


His debut operarole was Paolino in Il Matrimonio Segreto by Cimarosa. Since then he has performed a number of major Mozart-roles: Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Ferrando (Cosi Fan Tutte), the title role of Idomeneo, Titus (La Clemenza di Tito) and Gomatz (Zaïde). Other major parts include Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Alfredo (La Traviata), Fenton (Falstaff), Narraboth (Salomé), Admeto (Alceste), Bajazet (Tamerlano), Alwa (Lulu), Tambourmajor (Wozzeck), Steva (Jenufa), Tichon (Katia Kabanova), Toni (Elegy for Young Lovers), Belfiore (Il Viaggio a Reims), Pluton (Orphée aux Enfers), Bénédict (Béatrice et Bénédict), Gérald (Lakmé), Faust (La Damnation de Faust), Ulysse (Pénélope), Jason (Médée), Camille (Die Lustige Witwe), Gonzalve (L’Heure Espagnole), Gernando (L’Isola Disabitata), Filippo (L’Infedeltà Delusa), Lelio (La Capricciosa corretta), Guido Bardi (Eine Florentinische Tragödie), Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia), Edgar Linton (Wuthering Heights), Ferdinand (The Tempest – Adès) and David (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg). He also created the parts of Il Matto (La Strada – Van Hove), L’Avventore (L’Uomo dal fiore in Bocca – Brewaeys), Le Chef de la Garde (Affaire Étrangère – Villenave), Festus (Legende – Wagemans), Shoko (Andreas Weent – Wagemans) and Schatz/Big Uncle (An unserem Fluss – Navok).


He performed in the opera-theatres of Tours, Marseille, Nancy, Rennes, Caen, Lille, St.Etienne, Strassbourg, Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier, Avignon, Reims, Limoges, Rouen, Paris-LeChâtelet, Paris-Champs-Elysées, Monte-Carlo, Brussel, Antwerpen, Gent, Liège, Luxemburg, Lausanne, Barcelona, Madrid-LaZarzuela, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Mannheim, Weimar, Halle, DNO Amsterdam, Nationale Reisopera Enschede, Opera Zuid Maastricht, Toronto, Indianapolis; les Chorégies d’Orange, the Festivals of Aix-en-Provence, Montpellier and Saintes; and the Glyndebourne Touring Opera; Kameropera Transparant Antwerpen; in Carnegie  Hall New York, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus Wien, Theater an der Wien, The Gulbenkian Foundation Lisbon, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Sydney Opera House; with L’Orchestre National de Lille, the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, L’Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, the Philharmonisch Orkest van Vlaanderen, the Philharmonie Zuidnederland, La Petite Bande, Les Talens Lyriques and Anima Eterna. He sung with conductors such as Serge Baudo, Sigiswald Kuijken, Helmut Rilling, Michel Corboz, Peter Schreier, Marc Minkowski, Christophe Rousset, René Jacobs, Jos van Immerseel, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Dennis Russel Davies, Marcello Viotti, Evelino Pidò, Friedemann Layer, Alain Altinoglu, Reinbert de Leeuw...  


More recently he performed the leading role of Ivo Mariën in the modern premiere of De Kinderen der Zee (Mortelmans), with La Monnaie at Bozar, Brussels. New concerts with Das Lied von der Erde (Mahler/De Leeuw), with Het Collectief in Amsterdam, Saintes, Brussel, Royaumont and Utrecht; L’Enfance du Christ (Berlioz) at the Festival des Pierres Lyriques, Le Roi David (Honegger) with the Laurenscantorij Rotterdam, the Matthaeuspassion with deChorale and the Johannespassion with La Passione, both in Antwerp; the Vespers (Rachmaninov) with Octopus in Mechelen, Carmina Burana (Orff) in Maasmechelen. New recent opera productions included the world-premiere of Tropenliefde (R.Vermeulen) at the Elisabethzaal in Antwerp; Ulisse (Dallapiccola), Tamerlano (Haendel) and Les Brigands (Offenbach) with Oper Frankfurt; Le Nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Der Schauspieldirektor (Mozart), Der Rosenkavalier (R. Strauss) and The Nose (Shostakovich) at La Monnaie Brussels.



Updated April 2024