The Belgian bass-baritone, Werner Van Mechelen, studied with Roland Bufkens at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven, where he was awarded the vocalist’s diploma. He followed master-classes with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Robert Holl, Mitsuko Shirai, Hartmut Höll and Malcolm King.
Since 1988 Werner Van Mechelen has been a finalist of the Queen Elisabeth International Competition for Vocalists in Brussels, the International Vocalists Competition in ‘s Hertogenbosch, the Concours International de Chant in Toulouse and the Concorso Vinas in Barcelona. At this occasion, he also won the special Schubert price. In June 1995 he very successfully participated in the world renowned Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
Werner Van Mechelen is a highly versatile artist. Performances of the great Passions and Oratorios, as well as orchestral lieder, have brought him to Köln, Geneva, Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and Tel Aviv. He worked with conductors as Stefan Soltesz, Sigiswald Kuijken, Ton Koopman, Antonio Papano, S. Varviso and many others.
Werner Van Mechelen has performed the great Mozart roles - the Count and Figaro, Guglielmo, Don Giovanni, Leporello, Papageno - as well as Schaunard in La Bohème, Dandini in La Cenerentola, Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, Wolfram in Tannhäuser and Tierbändiger und Athlet in Lulu. His list of guest appearances includes credits in Zürich, Liège, Antwerp, Wiesbaden, Braunschweig, Bielefeld, Coburg and Limoges.
In 1993, at the Innsbruck Baroque Festival, Werner Van Mechelen sang under the direction of Sigiswald Kuijken in Antonio Caldara’s opera I Disingannati. Further on, in 1995 he performed Don Giovanni with the same ensemble. The co-operation continued in 1996 with Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Livietta e Tracollo and in 1998 with Le Nozze di Figaro.
Werner Van Mechelen is particularly drawn to the lied-genre. Next to less common works, his repertoire includes all the great lieder-cycles. Most often he performs with the piano accompaniment of Jozef De Beenhouwer, Eric Schneider a.o.
Along with recordings made for domestic and foreign radio and television, and discs with Baroque music, Werner Van Mechelen has also recorded a disc with Richard Strauss lieder and more recently a disc with songs by Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc and Lodewijk Mortelmans.
Alongside these many activities, Werner Van Mechelen conducts concerts of the Kemp Oratorio Society. Since 1996 he teaches singing at the Maastricht Conservatory.