Singer and voice teacher Aafje Heynis has died. The renowned contralto appeared regularly with the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1950 to 1975, initially singing works by Bach under the baton of Anthon van der Horst, and subsequently eighteenth- and nineteenth-century repertoire.
Heynis made such an impression on Bernard Haitink in a 1966 performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 that he asked her to return to sing the same part in 1968 and 1975.
Haitink said of her, ‘Aaf, as we all said, was honest, ever true to herself and to her talent. Never once did she resort to the use of a single trick and was always an exponent of the truly Dutch singer.’
Heynis gave her final concert in her hometown of Krommenie in 1983. She continued to teach, one of her most notable students being Charlotte Margiono. Heynis was ninety-one years old.