Pieter van der Stolk was born on September 14, 1934, in Amsterdam.

Pieter van der Stolk during his time with Opera Australia. Supplied: Sandie van der Stolk.

At a certain stage he moved to Britain, where he appeared in several BBC television shows and films, including “Z Cars,” “Doctor Who,” and “The Secret Agent.”

According to his wife Sandie, Pieter first arrived in Australia via air in 1965 to appear with the Sutherland Tait Troupe and to appear as The Gypsy Baron for ABC Television. He then returned to Europe where he worked for ten years. In 1976 he was offered a contract with Opera Australia where he was a principal baritone for the next 14 years.

His debut with Opera Australia was as Pasha Selim in Mozart’s “Il Seraglio” in 1976. This performance marked the beginning of a successful career with Opera Australia, during which he became known for his powerful and expressive baritone voice and his ability to inhabit a wide range of characters on stage.

His debut performance as Pasha Selim would have required not only vocal skill but also the ability to convey the character’s complex emotional journey. The role of Pasha Selim is relatively brief but significant, and requires the singer to portray both the character’s power and authority as well as his capacity for mercy and forgiveness. Van der Stolk left Opera Australia in 1988, and currently lives in Tasmania.

With thanks to Sandie van der Stolk.