//  Feature

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 what to do with me. In terms of my height, I was a six-foot girl since I was 10-years-old. I have always been the outsider.”

This was Elza Van Den Heever’s response to my question regarding how she relates to the character of Elettra in Mozart’s “Idomeneo,” which she sings for the third time in her career on Monday, March 6.

Van den Heever always felt that she would never belong in the world of opera and if not for some incredible decisions made by others regarding her future, she would never have been one.

“I kind of just fell into it to be completely honest. I wasn’t even good at it,” she stated during our interview.

She just happened to sing in the school choir and got an opportunity to do a solo. An audience member immediately told her mother that she should get some training and her mother acquiesced to the recommendation.

At the age of 16, voice lessons got underway and her teacher realized that she had the real deal on her hands.

“She told my mother to take me to the next level of development because she felt I could really be a true opera singer,” van den Heever revealed. “But I just wanted to be a chef or a cook. Music was not my thing. I was terrible at music theory and I had terrible stage fright. I was really shy growing up.”

She got accepted into the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she made the discovery that would help her overcome one of her many confidence issues.

It happened during a production “The Crucible” in the role of Tituba.

“The moment I discovered the acting part of singing, I fell in love,” she noted. “I discovered that when I am onstage, I am not Elza. I get to be somebody else.”

Read the entire feature via Operawire