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Critical Acclaim

Idomeneo: Metropolitan Opera

“With One Aria, Elza van den Heever Steals the Met’s Idomeneo In van den Heever’s hands, nearly four hours into the work, Elettra–yes, the same Elektra, daughter of Agamemnon, to whom Richard Strauss devoted a whole opera–takes rejection and makes it into a thrill ride. While ”D’Oreste, d’Aiace” is not exactly a mad scene–it’s more about rage–it did manage to drive the audience wild. Van den Heever’s high-flying performance soared, cajoled, and {…}

Critical Acclaim

White-Hot Aria, Engulfing Bass: This Week’s 8 Best Classical Moments

A Sudden Scene-Stealer – During the majestic conclusion of Mozart’s “Idomeneo,” all the crises are resolved. Neptune forgives Idomeneo, the king of Crete, for his rashness, then blesses the union of Idamante, the king’s son, and Ilia, a Trojan princess. But the fiery Elettra, who loves Idamante and must now cede him, has to be dealt with. The situation seems ripe for a burst of furious denunciation, a chilling moment. Guess again. Instead, Mozart gives Elettra a heated, scene-stealing aria, which the {…}

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The Outsider – How Elza van den Heever Found Her Voice, Overcame Insecurity & Learned to Have Fun

“I have always felt like the odd one out. The way I put my voice together. No one knows {…}

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Une voix internationale chante Richard Strauss à l’opéra de Limoges

La soprano Elza van den Heever interprètera les “Quatre derniers Lieder” de {…}

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Elza Van Den Heever : la vie de diva, une vie d’athlète

Du Metropolitan de New York à Francfort en passant par Cologne ou Bordeaux, les plus {…}

Critical Acclaim

Peter Grimes: Wiener Staatsoper

“At his side, however, Peter also had a few impressive friends. Elza van den Heever portrayed Ellen Orford, who was almost already bel canto, and who, with her full vocal commitment, had already made an impression in her moralizing speech to the village community. In the dispute with her stage partner she elevated herself to the pioneer of the assistant Peter with fine phrasing and a commanding top register.” {An seiner Seite wussten aber auch Peters wenige Freunde zu beeindrucken. Elza van den Heever gab eine {…}

Critical Acclaim

Peter Grimes: Wiener Staatsoper

“Elza van den Heever conveys the teacher’s attempts to direct the coarse log into the marina, with conciseness in sound and gesture.” {Die Versuche der Lehrerin wiederum, den groben Klotz in den Ehehafen zu lenken, vermittelt Elza van den Heever mit Prägnanz in Klang und Geste.} Christoph Irrgeher, Wiener Zeitung

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A Recipe for Success on the Opera Stage

by Fred Plotkin | Operavore | WQXR Julia Child, whom I was fortunate to know, liked to {…}

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Talking with Singers: Elza van den Heever

Schmopera South African soprano Elza van den Heever is currently in Toronto to sing one {…}

Critical Acclaim

Norma: Canadian Opera Company

“…van den Heever makes a very beautiful sound, without a cutting edge. She is also a very fine actress, her Act 2 very moving. Her more lyric sound is closer in timbre and volume to the Adalgisa of Isabel Leonard, and the two blended very beautifully in “Mira, o Norma.” Joseph So, Musical Toronto

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Artist Basics: Elza van den Heever

Parlando: The COC Blog What she’s doing with us: South African soprano Elza van den {…}

Critical Acclaim

Fidelio: Caramoor

“South African soprano Elza van den Heever, best known locally for her stints as Elisabetta in the Met’s Maria Stuarda, here sang her first Leonore. The voice was heroically scaled; the top enormous. She articulated the awkward passagework in “Abscheulischer!” with a dauntlessness that attested not only to her solid technique, but also informed the character herself.” Fred Cohn, Opera News

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Road Show: Elza van den Heever in Bordeaux

One can easily imagine the much-in-demand soprano Elza van den Heever being based in {…}

Critical Acclaim

Fidelio: Caramoor

“South African soprano Elza van den Heever has long had a ‘date’ with Beethoven’s Leonore, in his only completed opera FIDELIO. It wasn’t exactly a blind date–she has known for years that, eventually, she would take it on, she told me–but it was a roaring success in her role debut, at the Venetian Theatre at the Caramoor Festival, under Pablo Heras-Casado conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Taking on a role for the first time in public is surely a daunting challenge for a {…}

Critical Acclaim

Fidelio: Caramoor

“I had heard van den Heever, Groves, Sigmundsson and Jarman in other roles and always with great pleasure. In particular, van den Heever caught my eye and ear as a young artist (she still is quite young) because she is a superb singer and actress. Her memorable 2012 Met debut (captured on DVD) was as Queen Elizabeth I opposite Joyce DiDonato in the title role of Maria Stuarda. Van den Heever famously shaved her head and wore wigs, making her feel closer to the way the formidable monarch might have felt. She later was {…}

Critical Acclaim

Fidelio: Caramoor

“While this performance was cast to perfection from top to bottom, the success of Sunday’s presentation was due in no small part to the incredible Leonore of Elza van den Heever, her first performance of the part. Statuesque and wielding a sizeable, gleaming voice, van den Heever, known primarily to New York audiences for her performances of Elisabetta in Maria Stuarda and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, commanded the stage from her first entrance. In Beethoven’s majestic, sometimes-bombastic music, she never {…}

Critical Acclaim

Fidelio: Caramoor

“Beethoven requires much from his soprano, with extended passages of ornamentation, often written for the single syllable of a word. Elza van den Heever brought her formidable and agile instrument to the part, leaping through the difficult passages of the “Abscheulicher!” monologue and aria including the torturous fioratura writing above the stave. She became the focal point of the action from the moment she stepped onstage, capturing the character’s outer deception and inner distress. In Act II, {…}

Critical Acclaim

Fidelio: Caramoor

“… Fidelio which was especially memorable for South African soprano Elza van den Heever’s thrilling first-ever Leonore … van den Heever, whose wide-ranging and plush dark soprano rang out sensationally … Hers was an intriguingly introverted Leonore, one who even in a semi-staged performance rarely gestured keeping her riveting intensity very inward. Often one perceives a Leonore cautiously husbanding her energies until after “Abscheulicher,” but not the bold van den Heever—she easily {…}

Critical Acclaim

Fidelio: Caramoor

“Elza van den Heever Shows What the Voice Can Do … 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. Not only did Van Den Heever put on a singularly detailed and satisfying performance, she also acted generously with all her partners, particularly {…}

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BWW Interview: Elza van den Heever Takes on Beethoven’s Leonore in FIDELIO at Caramoor and It’s ‘No Joke’

When South African soprano Elza van den Heever made her debut at the Met, as Elizabeth I in Donizetti’s MARIA STUARDA, it was something that was totally memorable in every way–not only for her intelligent and gorgeous bel canto singing but for the lurching gait that helped show her character as unbalanced. She even shaved her hair off, the better to look the part in the HD broadcast, opposite the Maria of Joyce DiDonato. (She repeated it last season at the Met opposite Sondra Radvanovsky’s Maria.) As {…}

Critical Acclaim

Peter Grimes: San Francisco Symphony

“Former San Francisco Opera Merola and Adler Fellow Elza van den Heever, who made her debut in the role of Ellen Orford opposite Skelton in the English National Opera‘s “Grimes” earlier this year, continues to show why she is a singer to watch and hear at any opportunity. Here, she maintains a dramatically significant control in Ellen’s early scenes. The voice is clear, precise, reflecting Ellen‘s quiet determination to stand up to the villagers in her defense of the man she hopes to marry. … {…}

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Meeting with Elza van den Heever, Norma in Bordeaux

Opera-Online South-African soprano Elza van den Heever comes back to the Grand-Théâtre {…}

Critical Acclaim

Anna Bolena: Opéra National de Bordeaux

“Elza van den Heever moves us deeply, enthrals and captivates… she delighted us with her powerful and controlled voice, with a splendid midrange that does not exclude dazzling high notes. But those extreme notes are never sung without purpose; they are used to convey meaning, in the same way as volume or colour offer expression.” Christophe Rizoud, Forum Opéra

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Interview d’Elza van den Heever, soprano

Tutti magazine Nous rencontrons Elza van den Heever au lendemain d’une superbe {…}

Critical Acclaim

Don Giovanni: The Metropolitan Opera

“Elza van den Heever following her outstanding MET debut in 2012 as Elizabeth in Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda,” is back as a vocally splendid and poignantly confused Donna Anna. Her singing is agile and focused, yet luminous and penetrating.” Anthony Tommasini, New York Times “van den Heever was excellent all evening. She conveyed real dignity and personal loss in the opening scene, and her singing of “Non mi dir” was stunning, her musicality and expression surpassing her tremendous {…}

Critical Acclaim

Peter Grimes: English National Opera

“Elza van den Heever, a superb South African soprano who looks and sounds remarkably like the young Joan Sutherland, stands out from the herd as a stolid and sensible Ellen Orford, with a voice of angelic sheen and purity promising hope and redemption.” Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

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The First Annual Excellence in Opera Awards (AKA The Freddies)

WQXR – Operavore Star-making Performance – Female: Elza van den Heever in {…}

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‘Kochen ist auch eine Kunst’

Read the entire Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung feature at the following link.  

Critical Acclaim

Maria Stuarda: The Metropolitan Opera

“In a notable Met debut, Elza van den Heever, a 33-year-old South African soprano whose career is rising internationally, is a vocally burnished and emotionally tempestuous Elizabeth (Elisabetta)…her voice has penetrating depth and character. She turns flights of coloratura passagework into bursts of jealousy and defiance as Elizabeth contends with the threat that Mary, a blood relative, poses to her reign in England… I admired the rawness and vulnerability of Ms. van den Heever’s performance. She was so committed {…}

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‘When The Costume Isn’t Enough’

Opera News “If I had to imagine what it is like to fly,” muses Elza van den {…}

Critical Acclaim

Il trovatore: Canadian Opera Company

“Elza van den Heever. Remember that name. The South African soprano makes her COC debut here and will be making her Metropolitan Opera debut at the end of the year. Her performance as the piece’s tragic heroine, beloved of two brothers who are also sworn enemies, hit all of the emotional touchstones the part requires: vulnerability, ecstatic love and heart-rending despair. From the opening notes of “Tacea la notte placida,” it was obvious we were in the hands of a singer for whom delicacy and power are not mutually {…}

Critical Acclaim

Alcina: Opéra National de Bordeaux

“South African soprano Elza van den Heever played Alcina. She is an important soprano of our times, a lyric-spinto, and she has a great future ahead of her…Elza van den Heever was an exciting Alcina, more powerful than moving, and at her best in the more dramatic moments.” José Ma Irurzun, Seen and Heard International

Critical Acclaim

Rinaldo: Lyric Opera of Chicago

“As Armida, the bright-voiced, fearless soprano Elza van den Heever stole every scene she was in, especially the end of Act II, in which the thwarted Armida sings a fiery aria of defiance, “Vo’ far guerra.” Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

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‘Soprano Elza van den Heever finds her true voice’

SFGate Elza van den Heever was well along in her career as a talented mezzo-soprano when {…}

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“La joie de chanter”

Sud Ouest Avant d’aborder Leonora du « Trouvère » et le Compositeur d’« Ariane à {…}

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Opernwelt feature

Nicht erst seit ihrer gefeierten Desdemona an der Oper Frankfurt gilt sie als eine der {…}

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Sound Bites feature

Opera News Elza van den Heever, who makes her Santa Fe Opera debut next month in Don {…}