“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 singer. Yet, van den Heever pulled it off with finesse, her burnished voice, flexibility and fine acting providing a fine look at this woman driven to save her spouse. Her “Abscheulicher!“–revealing the depth of her devotion to Florestan–was a stellar achievement and her later scene with him in their wonderful duet, “O namelose Freude,” was incredibly moving …”
Richard Sasanow, Broadway World