The Dutch countertenor Gerben van der Werf (1994) made his operatic debut at the age of 12 as Erster Knabe in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. Having received a thorough vocal training at the local Anglican boys’ choir, singing was such a natural part of his life that the young Dutchman did not consider pursuing a career as a professional singer, but went on to obtain degrees in Chemistry, Physics, and History and Philosophy of Science at Utrecht University. In recent years, however, the desire to sing and nurture his lyrical talents became so prominent that he decided to change his career plans entirely and dedicate his life to become an opera singer.
During his studies at Dutch National Opera Academy, Gerben made his debut at the Dutch National Opera as Sergei Diaghilev in Willem Jeths’ Ritratto (2020). Other roles that the young singer has sung include the title role of Giulio Cesare in Egitto (Handel), Giulio Cesare (Cleopatra e Cesare, Graun), Friedrich Bhaer (Little Women, Adamo), Le Comte Barigoule (Cendrillon, Viardot), Prinz Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus, Strauss) and Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice, Gluck). Gerben performed with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Residentie Orkest, Nederlandse Bachvereniging, Amsterdam Baroque Choir & Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Orchestra and worked with conductors such as Michele Mariotti, Geoffrey Paterson, Ton Koopman, Jos van Veldhoven and Andrea Marcon. Currently, he is coached by Selma Harkink, Peter Nilsson and Margreet Honig.
This season, Gerben will make his international debut at Nationaltheater Weimar as Helicon in Caligula (Glanert). Other engagements include Bach concerts, and a production of G.F. Handel’s Semele (Prince Athamas) with Opera Collective Ireland and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.