Felix van der Heyden
Originally a pavior, he was one of the discoveries of Karel Locufier, who was the legendary director of the Ghent opera theater from 1961 to 1972, forming a completely new troupe when he took office: Van der Heyden was, after never completed musical studies, Locufier's heroic tenor, and one of the pillars of that troupe. For singing Don José, Van der Heyden was paid 300 Belgian Francs per evening, a laughable amount, but he was such a modest and affable person that he accepted.
I would like to thank Georges Cardol for the recordings.
I would like to thank Claude-Pascal Perna for his help with the biography, and Frederik van der Heyden for the picture; additional biographical references: Gilbert Antheunis; De Standaard, 19 January 2007.