On December 13, 16, 18 & 21 Elza van den Heever sings the role of Ellen Orford in Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes at the Wiener Staatsoper. Stephen Gould stars in the title role, with Brian Mulligan featured as Balstrode. Graeme Jenkins leads the Staatsopernorchester for these performances, with stage direction by Christine Mielitz.
Ms. van den Heever previously sang the role to great acclaim with the San Francisco Symphony and English National Opera:
“Elza van den Heever, a superb South African soprano who looks and sounds remarkably like the young Joan Sutherland, stands out from the herd as a stolid and sensible Ellen Orford, with a voice of angelic sheen and purity promising hope and redemption.” (The Telegraph)
“Former San Francisco Opera Merola and Adler Fellow Elza van den Heever, who made her debut in the role of Ellen Orford opposite Skelton in the English National Opera‘s “Grimes” earlier this year, continues to show why she is a singer to watch and hear at any opportunity. Here, she maintains a dramatically significant control in Ellen’s early scenes. The voice is clear, precise, reflecting Ellen‘s quiet determination to stand up to the villagers in her defense of the man she hopes to marry. … Later, when she discovers a bruise on the neck of the new apprentice… and wavers in her belief in Peter, van den Heever unleashes a glorious lyrical ribbon of pain and beauty, every bit of loneliness and heartbreak spilling out of her. Her rendition of the “Embroidery Aria” in the third act, that quiet moment meant to suggest the calm between an ebbing and crashing wave, was etched in wistful resignation. ” (San Francisco Chronicle)