As Elizaveta mentioned in an earlier post, singer Jo Vincent was one of the Dutch musicians who refused to bow to the Nazi occupiers when they forced all artists to join the Kultuurkamer, under penalty of exclusion from public performances. She survived by performing at the semi-legal Zwarte Avonden, organized privately by citizens having a living room big enough to receive a few dozen listeners, who paid the artists either in money or (in the later war years) in fruit or food.
But this was not her first act of resistance to the Nazis. In the first year of the war she had refused to bow to them in a literal sense. The occasion was a concert in The Hague, where she was the soloist in Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate. Nazi leader Seyss-Inquart was present, and sat on the left side of the concert hall. At the end, the soprano made her usual bows to the applauding audience. She bowed to the middle, to the right, … but not to the left. The public noticed this, and called her back on stage again and again. And every time she bowed to middle, to the right, … but not to the left. This in spite of the whispered exhortations from conductor Willem Mengelberg, who insisted on remaining good friends with the Nazis. In her autobiography, she did not even make mention of the incident.
The full story (‘Weer boog zij niet naar links’, in two parts) can be read in the music magazine De Rode Leeuw (nos. 242 and 243, 2020), which can be obtained from the editor Gerard van der Leeuw (tel. 020-2297704, or e-mail email@example.com).
Albert van der Schoot
The Dutch Composer Henriëtte Bosmans dedicated a song to Jo Vincent in 1945.
Here is a link to the performance of this song by DUO 21.