To call Elza van den Heever one of South Africa’s most successful sopranos would be an understatement. The soprano is ‘blessed with a plush, dramatic voice capable of formidable power and dazzling high notes.’ Each role she takes on reveals her signature vocalism and renowned stage presence.
Elza van den Heever made her major opera debut on the San Francisco Opera stage in 2007, singing the role of Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, receiving sterling reviews. And the praise has continued to pour in. For her role as Desdemona in Otello at Oper Frankfurt, she was praised for her ‘huge voice, full of tenderness and precision.’ When she portrayed Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin, Van den Heever was described as ‘sharing more than a first name with the Wagnerian heroine. Her vocal lines are sophisticated, diction impeccable, and her inflection and nuances serve to depict Elsa as a young woman who is at once daring, bold and strong.’ Her performance in the title role of Bellini’s masterpiece, Norma, at the Opérs National de Bordeaux earned her reviews like: ‘The virtuosity of Ms van den Heever is breathtaking throughout the performance… coloratura at the top of the range, with stunning maturity in the lower range. With her controlled virtuosity, Elza van den Heever has the audience anxiously awaiting every note.’
Her vocal lines are sophisticated, diction impeccable, and her inflection and nuances serve to depict Elsa as a young woman who is at once daring, bold and strong.
Van den Heever has performed on many of the top opera stages in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna, the Opéra National de Paris and the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich. She has sung many soprano dream roles, including Norma in Bellini’s Norma, Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Vitellia in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, the title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello and Elisabetta di Valois in Verdi’s Don Carlo, to name a few. She also sang the role of Mary Curtis Lee in the world premiere of Philip Glass’ Appomattox.
It has already been a very busy year, and Van den Heever’s 2018/2019 season sees her continue to be in high demand. She has graced the stages of the Oper Frankfurt and the Metropolitan Opera. Following her performance at RMB Starlight Classics, she will return to Wagner’s Lohengrin in October/November at the Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna. On 17 and 18 December, she will be in concert at Salle Métropole, Lausanne, and will return to Chicago’s Lyric Opera in February for Strauss’ Elektra. From 30 March to 20 April, she will make the Metropolitan Opera her home, performing in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. In May, she will travel to Germany for a performance of Strauss’s Four Last Songs at Konzerthaus Berlin and then to Austria for Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 at Festspielhaus Bregenz.
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Van den Heever trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She has received numerous awards over the years, including the 2008 Seattle Opera International Wagner Competition, a GRAMMY for her performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in San Francisco with Michael Tilson Thomas, and she participated in both the Merola Opera Program and the Adler Fellowship. Van den Heever is a dual citizen of France and South Africa, and currently makes her home in Bordeaux, France.