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 Leonore, in a semi-staged production of Beethoven’s FIDELIO–a role debut for her at the Caramoor Festival in Westchester, just north of New York City, on July 31 at 4 pm–she plays a woman (Leonore) disguised as a man (Fidelio) to save her unjustly imprisoned husband, Florestan. Does she have anything unusual in mind for her disguise? Shave her head again or, say, wear a mask, for example?
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