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Strauss’ ‘Four Last Songs’ with the Orchestre de Paris

On Wednesday, November 18, The Philharmonie Live will broadcast the Orchestre de Paris’ concert starring Elza van den Heever. Under the baton of Simone Young, she will sing Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, and the ensemble will perform Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. Previously, the San Francisco Classical Voice celebrated Ms. van den Heever’s performance of the bewitching and peaceful work:

“With Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas leading a beautifully restrained orchestral performance, van den Heever delivered the vocal part with grace and sensitivity. Looking glamorous in an indigo gown, her dark hair long and flowing, the soprano shaded the performance with an apt blend of wonder and resignation. In the first song, “Fruhling” (Spring), she sounded agile, lifting the voice with apparent ease to the phrase “Duft und Vogelgesang” (scents and birdsong) over the orchestra’s sheer, shimmering sound.”

Concluding on the program, Brahms’ monumental Symphony No. 4 reconciles epic themes, fantastic escapes, and the rigor of pre-classical forms, notably in its masterful Finale in the form of variations on a chorale by Bach. Watch the live stream on Wednesday, November 18, at 8:30 p.m. CET on Philharmonie Live, and deferred on Radio Classique on Saturday, November 28, 2020, at 9 p.m.
Photo: Jiyang Chen
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The Met Opera livestreams an all-star At-Home Gala

The Metropolitan Opera announced plans today to livestream an At-Home Gala on Saturday, April 25, at 1pm EDT, featuring performances by many of the company’s most prominent artists, live from their own quarantines around the world. Hosted by General Manager Peter Gelb in New York City and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Montreal, the program will be streamed for free on the Met’s website.

“While the Met is famous for its high-definition transmissions into cinemas, this will be a great artistic but low-tech operation,” said Mr. Gelb, noting that the performances will be relayed in real time from the singers’ laptops and transmitted via Skype in what will nonetheless be a complicated exercise in logistics and time zones. “We will be providing operatic uplift to our audiences, as well as for our singers, who are eager to connect with their fans.”

While Mr. Gelb will be producing the event from his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mr. Nézet-Séguin will be co-hosting from his apartment in Montreal. Mr. Nézet-Séguin will also be participating in the gala as a pianist.

The gala will start at 1pm EDT, the regularly scheduled time for the Met’s Saturday matinee performances, and will be available via the Met’s website at metopera.org. After the live showing, the program will continue to be available on demand on the Met website until 6:30pm EDT the following day. The complete program will be announced shortly.

Some of the artists participating in this gala are Diana Damrau, Michael Fabiano, Isabel Leonard, René Pape, Ailyn Pérez, Matthew Polenzani, Elza van de Heever, Pretty Yende, Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Erin Morley and Anita Rachvelishvili.

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Elza van den Heever makes her staged role debut as The Empress

Elza van den Heever returns to the role of The Empress after her successful debut in the concert performances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic last February.

“Tout change quand paraît l’Impératrice. Timbre d’argent cousu d’or, avec un aigu agile comme le vol de l’hirondelle, un galbe de la phrase aux souplesses félines, Elza van den Heever est la grande triomphatrice de la soirée. L’incarnation aura besoin de se libérer, mais pour une première fois, c’est déjà un accomplissement, qui impose l’artiste parmi les grands sopranos Strauss d’aujourd’hui.”

Diapason

This time, she stars in a production by Katie Mitchell, which will be performed at the Dutch National Opera from April 25 – May 20 and Marc Albrecht on the podium. Joining her are AJ Glueckert, Michaela Schuster, Sebastian Holecek, Julietta Aleksanyan, Eva Kroon, Peter Gijsbertsen, Josef Wagner, Iréne Theorin, Andri Björn Róbertsson, Sam Carl and Paul Kaufman.

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Elza van den Heever nominated for the International Opera Awards

Elza van den Heever has been nominated for the International Opera Awards in the Female Singer category alongside Maria Agresta, Lise Davidsen, Christine Goerke, Kate Lindsey and Lisette Oropesa. Winners will be announced at the 2020 International Opera Awards on Monday 4th May at Sadler’s Wells.

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Die Frau ohne Schatten role debut

Building on the collaboration which produced the masterpieces Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier and Ariadne auf Naxos in the space of just a few years, Strauss collaborates once again with his favourite librettist, the poet Hofmannsthal, for a new operatic venture in a similar vein to Die Zauberflöte. The heroine is an immortal whose inability to bear children is symbolised by her lack of a shadow. She can only become truly human and give birth if she relinquishes her immortality. Strauss expresses this dilemma in a singspiel in which two couples, one immortal and the other mortal, reveal themselves on an initiatory journey littered with obstacles. The work blends fantasy and tragedy in order to highlight an intensely humanist message of solidarity. Composed during the very darkest days of World War I, Die Frau ohne Schatten is unprecedented in operatic terms for its expression of the workings of barbarity, whilst envisaging a positive outcome for a world in mourning. The intelligence and richness of the libretto, expressed in dazzling symphonic and vocal writing, make this one of the most mysterious and appealing works penned by the Strauss-Hofmannsthal duo.

This February, Elza van den Heever makes role debut as The Empress in a concert version of Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten, joining Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic in a three city tour. The performances take place on February 17 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, February 20 at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and February 23 at the Rotterdam Philharmonic. The cast also features Stephan Gould, Michaela Schuster, Michael Volle, Lise Lindstrom, Katrien Baerts, Thomas Oliemans, Bror Magnus Tødenes, Andreas Conrad, Michael Wilmering and Nathan Berg.

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Debut in Wozzeck at the Metropolitan Opera

From December 27 until January 22, Elza van den Heever stars as Marie, making her role debut as Wozzeck’s unfaithful mate in Berg’s opera of the same name, opposite Peter Mattei as the title character.

The William Kentridge production sets Berg’s masterpiece in an apocalyptic pre–World War I environment, with Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the podium. The commanding cast also includes Christopher Ventris as the Drum-Major, Christian Van Horn as the Doctor, and Gerhard Siegel as the Captain.

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La Vestale in Vienna

This November, Elza van den Heever makes her debut in the title role of Spontini’s La Vestale, a priestess conflicted between her duty and her love, at the Theater an der Wien. Led by Bertrand de Billy, the rest of the cast includes Michael Spyres, Sébastien Guèze, Franz-Josef Selig and Claudia Mahnke. The performances take place from November 16 until 27.

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Verdi’s Requiem in London

On October 12, Elza van den Heever joins the London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra led by Edward Gardner, as well as Ekaterina Gubanova, Arsen Soghomonyan and Gábor Bretz as the other soloists, in performing Verdi’s epic Requiem at the Royal Festival Hall.

When Giuseppe Verdi wrote his Requiem, he refused to let his imagination be constrained by the conventions of sacred music. Instead, he brought all his dramatic power to bear on a story of tragedy, redemption, and the end of time. The result is one of the mightiest of all choral masterpieces.

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