1897 Mohiville – 21 December 1964 Bois-Boursu
In RA format
Lens was one of the major stars in Belgian operatic history; outside Belgium, in sharp contrast,
he's barely known. He studied voice with Jules Massart, among others. He had a long career at the Théâtre de la
Monnaie, from 1926 to 1953, and sang an enormous number of performances there. For the first years, he sang
secondary parts like Pang, Nathanael (Contes d'Hoffmann), the Innkeeper (Rosenkavalier) or Brighella (Ariadne auf Naxos), but
soon, he became a (perhaps: the) leading tenor of the troupe, and sang Turiddu, Grigorij, Albert Herring, Julien, Gounod's Faust,
Don José, Don Carlo, Sándor Barinkay, Roland (Esclarmonde), Florestan, Alain (Grisélidis), Edgardo,
Pinkerton (probably the role that he sang most often), Stolzing, Masaniello, Pollione, Canio, Parsifal, Assad (Die Königin
von Saba), Richard Coeur de Lion, Herodes, Tannhäuser, Mime (Siegfried), Pedro, Hauptmann (Wozzeck), and a lot of other
roles, not least in contemporary operas. His stage acting was particularly impressive.
Lens sang also, as a guest, at every other important Belgian opera theater, plus a lot in the French provinces and in
Algeria, in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. After his 1955 retirement, he was a voice teacher.
Reference 1: La Monnaie archives, reference 2, reference 3, reference 4: Kutsch & Riemens
I want to thank Georges Cardol for the picture.