//  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 cried “unfair!” while never forgetting that this was Mozart.

When van den Heever–who made such a huge impression as Elisabetta in the Met’s MARIA STUARDA, opposite both Joyce DiDonato and Sondra Radvanovsky–delivered this final aria (she also had earlier, less showy ones), it was a great moment to be in the house.”

Richard Sasanow, Broadway World

“Van den Heever was excellent as Elettra, rivaling Sierra for the beauty of her singing and relishing the sheer excitement of the character’s music. Where Ilia expresses various degrees of love, tenderness, and duty, Elettra is, well, Elettra, full of barely concealed violent passions and murderous rages. Van den Heever handled this entire range with her voice (although the impressive architecture of her dress was nearly a character in itself), and managed to be not only gripping but sympathetic. She burned with controlled intensity in her Act I aria “Tutte nel cor,” and the mad scene and collapse in Act III, when she realizes she has lost Idamante to Ilia, was stupendous (with the unintentionally comic touch of the audience cheering for her as a cohort of supernumeraries carried her catatonic body offstage).”

George Grella, New York Classical Review

“Vocally and dramatically, the role is a tough assignment. The soprano Elza van den Heever triumphs in it. This Elettra has a very fragile majesty. When she gets her way, she turns vulnerable, singing with sensuality and warmth. But when crossed, she erupts with unhinged intensity and steely sound, as in her furious final aria”

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

“Elza van den Heever lavishes broad bravado on the mean smirks of Elettra, and makes the quasi-devil sing like a quasi-goddess.”

Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times

“Elettra is the Ying to Idomeneo’s Yang, her selfish nature echoing his and yet also matching his sense of guilt. After all, she murdered her mother and he is tasked with murdering his son. Finding someone that can create the same sense of darkness and yet similar empathy as he does is always a tall order for the interpreter of this role. Not for Elza van den Heever.

……van den Heever’s violent potential reached its apex in an unhinged “D’Oreste, D’Aiace,” the opera’s most famous aria. It was a vicious rendition performed with abrasive tone quality and forceful accents throughout, Elettra’s venom being spewed with every word that came from van den Heever’s rich voice. But the more slime she threw about the more out of control she was of her physical nature, the character slowly imploding until she collapsed to the ground, a few shudders and shakes emerging as if her body remained possessed by some demon. The moment was so dramatically effective that van den Heever won arguably the most enthusiastic ovation of the night.”

David Salazar, Operawire.com 

“At her side, superb in a sumptuous black and silver dress, Elza van den Heever puts on a dazzling Elettra, one of the few to sing her three arias with the same happiness. Moving from the panting rhythm of “tutte nel cor vi sento” to the melancholy of “Idol mio” before letting the voice speak to evoke the “Soavi zeffiri” is not easy, the soprano reaches it via a sovereign technique and a perfect control of her breath. In the third act, her timbre with the perfect arc and her high-pitched range allows her to offer a hallucinating “D’Oreste, Aiace”  which earned her a merited ovation from the Met audience.”

{A ses côtés, superbe dans une somptueuse robe noire et argent, Elza van den Heever campe une Elettra éblouissante, l’une des rares à chanter ses trois airs avec le même bonheur. Passer du rythme haletant de « tutte nel cor vi sento » à la mélancolie de « Idol mio » avant de laisser planer la voix pour évoquer les « Soavi zeffiri » n’est pas chose aisée, la soprano y parvient grâce à une technique souveraine et un parfait contrôle du souffle. Au troisième acte, son timbre au galbe parfait et ses aigus percutants lui permettent d’offrir un « D’Oreste, d’Aiace » hallucinant qui lui vaut une ovation méritée de la part du public du Met.}

Christian Peter, forumopera.com