On April 6 Capriccio releases a new recording of “Il Tabarro”, starring the late Johan Botha in the role of Luigi and Elza van den Heever as Giorgetta. Wolfgang Koch is Michele and Bertrand de Billy conducts the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. This CD is essential as it is the final recording made by Botha, who passed away in 2016.
With “Il Tabarro” Puccini wrote the first part of his projected opera triptych, with which he ultimately intended to parody and reverse Wagner’s Ring tetralogy by stringing together three completely incoherent short stories. Bertrand de Billy knows how to make the score come alive with a fantastic cast on his side. Tenor Johan Botha was at the top of his career at the making of this album, and the results of the entire ensemble together are historically beautiful.
Returning to the Metropolitan Opera stage this spring, Elza van den Heever debuts as Chrysothemis in Strauss’ Elektra. For these performances, from March 1 until the 17, she is joined by Christine Goerke in the title role, Michaela Schuster as Klytämnestra, Jay Hunter Morris as Aegisth and Mikhail Petrenko as Orest. Yannick Nézet-Séguin leads the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
The production by Patrice Chéreau was featured in the Met in HD series shown in movie theaters all over the world. Watch a clip from that performance below:
To end what has been a fantastic performing year, Elza van den Heever returns to the Zurich Opera to sing Leonore in Beethoven’s Fidelio, opposite Klaus Florian Vogt as Florestan and Mélissa Petit as Marzelline. Ms. van den Heever debuted the role at Caramoor last year, and received high praise from critics and the audience alike. The “Berkshire Fine Arts” wrote: “While the cast was superb throughout, Elza Van Den Heever shone, even shocked, as Lenore … All attention is on her superb acting and particularly the voice. It floats totally supported by the breath. Huge and resounding, it seems effortless to produce, although perfection often does sound deceptively simple.”
On October 25 and 26 Elza van den Heever travels to Helsinki to sing the soprano solo in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, sharing the stage with baritone Daniel Schmutzhard. The first part of the program features Berg’s Sieben frühe Lieder. Simone Young will conduct these two performances,
Ms. van den Heever opens her 2017/2018 season in Germany, singing Leonora in Oper Frankfurt’s new production of Il Trovatore. One of Verdi’s most popular operas, the work is full of beautiful arias and stirring ensemble pieces. Ms. van den Heever has performed this demanding soprano role several times, and was hailed as “spellbinding” (Concertonet) and having a “voluptuous tone and luxurious vocal line.” (Sud Ouest) This season at Oper Frankfurt, Elza performs in a David Bösch production, and sings opposite Piero Pretti as Manrico, Brian Mulligan as Conte di Luna, and Tanja Ariane Baumgartner as Azucena. Conducted by Jader Bignamini, the production opens on September 10, 2017 with additional performances in September and October. Tickets are available here.
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Once the last performance of Alcina is over at Santa Fe Opera on August 23, Ms. van den Heever moves on to singing Leonora in Verdi’s masterpiece Il trovatore, five years after debuting the role at the Canadian Opera Company, where she was said to “achieve controlled fragility and vocal splendour” (Bachtrack). This new production by David Bösch will bring an exciting young cast on the stage of Oper Frankfurt, with Brian Mulligan as Conte di Luna, Tanja Ariane Baumgartner as Azucena, Piero Pretti as Manrico, and Kihwan Sim as Ferrando.
After performing Verdi’s Requiem with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Ms. van den Heever travels to the Santa Fe Opera to sing the title role in Handel’s Alcina. She made her Santa Fe debut in 2009 as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and is delighted to perform again at this prestigious American summer festival. For this occasion Santa Fe has selected the production which was created at the Opéra National de Bordeaux by David Alden. Mr. Alden places the story in an abandoned theater, inspired by the architecture of the Bordeaux Opera House. Elza sang the title role at its 2012 premiere, where she was hailed as “the dominant vocal presence of the evening” (Opera News). In Santa Fe, Ms. van den Heever is joined by Anna Christy as Morgana, and Paula Murrihy as Ruggiero, with conductor Harry Bicket leading from the pit. Alcina premieres on July 29, with additional performances on August 2, 11, 17, and 23.