Holland loses its greatest opera champion

Holland loses its greatest opera champion


norman lebrecht

January 22, 2015

Fred Lingen has died. Holland owes him its opera house.

He founded the Wagner Society in 1961 and was artistic adviser to the Friends of the Opera from its inception.



Pierre Audi, director of De Nederlandse Opera, writes to Slipped Disc: ‘He was the most important opera lover DNO will ever know. A man who was at every show for decades. The kind of living treasure that surrounds an artform with unconditional passion and vast knowledge, they come once in 100 years. Losing Fred is losing something from our soul.

‘People like Fred can make a colossal difference to an artform taking root or not. He gave us the feeling the Dutch are an opera nation when in fact they struggled with the unCalvinist notion of opera from the 17th century to this day. Six months ago Fred received a well deserved medal (order of Oranje Nassau) in recognition of his services to opera. Everyone knew this was a sort of public goodbye as he was ill. I’ll speak at his funeral next Thursday.’


  • Paul van Nieuwkerk says:

    Holland are two provinces combined in the west of The Netherlands, North and South-Holland.
    Fred Lingen was an operalover from The Netherlands.

    • Dominy Clements says:

      We get the point, though technically with the Netherlands’ main opera house in Amsterdam this would place Dutch opera in the province of North Holland, so Norman isn’t entirely wrong. To close this tedious pedantry circle completely, we write ‘the Netherlands’ with a small ‘t’ these days; heaven knows why…

      Fred will be sorely missed.

  • Jan de Jong says:

    I have been knowing Fred Lingen from my first opera visit in 1988. He will be missed greatly. Beautiful and true words by Pierre Audi. May he rest in peace.

  • Rob van der Hilst says:

    Fred Lingen was a great ‘pusher’ in and of the Dutch operascene: a gentleman who’s love for it put lots of people on fire for that great, complicated and attractive artform.
    “Tutto nel mondo è burla”, Verdi’s last operatic words: I am convinced Fred would agree upon this…