Author Archive

Berg and Brahms with the Orchestre de Paris and Simone Young

On November 3 and 4, Elza van den Heever will once again join Orchestre de Paris in a concert under the baton of Simone Young. The performances will begin with Berg’s lusciously orchestrated song cycle entitled Sieben frühe Lieder. She will then be joined by Choeur de l’Orchestre de Paris and baritone Wolfgang Koch for Brahms’ epic German Requiem.

Later in the season, she will repeat the Berg set along with Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with pianist Vlad Iftinca at Carnegie Hall.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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Wagnerians in Concert on PBS

PBS will broadcast “Wagnerians in Concert” on November 5, showcasing Elza van den Heever, Christine Goerke, Michael Volle, and Andreas Schager, accompanied by pianist Craig Terry. This concert was recorded in Wiesbaden, Germany, and featured music from “Tannhäuser,” “Parsifal,” “Die Walküre,” “Die Frau ohne Schatten,” and more, as well as Wagner’s complete Wesendonck Lieder. The broadcast is hosted by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo.

Click here to see a preview of the performance. To find out when you can watch it in your area, check PBS’ local listings.

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‘Fidelio’ in San Francisco

On October 14, 17, 20, 22, 26, 30, Elza van den Heever returns to San Francisco Opera as Leonore in their new production of Fidelio. Envisioned by renowned director Matthew Ozawa, the opera gets a modern take with a detention center being the story’s setting where Leonore seeks answers regarding her activist partner’s disappearance. 

A signature of Ms. van den Heever, her interpretation of the role has garnered rave reviews:

“While the cast was superb throughout, Elza Van Den Heever shone, even shocked, as Lenore … All attention is on her superb acting and particularly the voice. It floats totally supported by the breath. Huge and resounding, it seems effortless to produce, although perfection often does sound deceptively simple.” (Berkshire Fine Arts)

She will be joined on stage by Russell Thomas as Florestan, Greer Grimsley as Don Pizarro, and James Creswell as Rocco. Eun Sun Kim conducts.

Stream the production LIVE on October 14 and 20 at 7:30 pm PDT and 17 at 2 pm PDT for $25 via San Francisco Opera


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Strauss’ ‘Four Last Songs’ with the Orchestre de Paris

On Wednesday, November 18, The Philharmonie Live will broadcast the Orchestre de Paris’ concert starring Elza van den Heever. Under the baton of Simone Young, she will sing Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs, and the ensemble will perform Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. Previously, the San Francisco Classical Voice celebrated Ms. van den Heever’s performance of the bewitching and peaceful work:

“With Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas leading a beautifully restrained orchestral performance, van den Heever delivered the vocal part with grace and sensitivity. Looking glamorous in an indigo gown, her dark hair long and flowing, the soprano shaded the performance with an apt blend of wonder and resignation. In the first song, “Fruhling” (Spring), she sounded agile, lifting the voice with apparent ease to the phrase “Duft und Vogelgesang” (scents and birdsong) over the orchestra’s sheer, shimmering sound.”

Concluding on the program, Brahms’ monumental Symphony No. 4 reconciles epic themes, fantastic escapes, and the rigor of pre-classical forms, notably in its masterful Finale in the form of variations on a chorale by Bach. Watch the live stream on Wednesday, November 18, at 8:30 p.m. CET on Philharmonie Live, and deferred on Radio Classique on Saturday, November 28, 2020, at 9 p.m.
Photo: Jiyang Chen
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The Met Opera livestreams an all-star At-Home Gala

The Metropolitan Opera announced plans today to livestream an At-Home Gala on Saturday, April 25, at 1pm EDT, featuring performances by many of the company’s most prominent artists, live from their own quarantines around the world. Hosted by General Manager Peter Gelb in New York City and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in Montreal, the program will be streamed for free on the Met’s website.

“While the Met is famous for its high-definition transmissions into cinemas, this will be a great artistic but low-tech operation,” said Mr. Gelb, noting that the performances will be relayed in real time from the singers’ laptops and transmitted via Skype in what will nonetheless be a complicated exercise in logistics and time zones. “We will be providing operatic uplift to our audiences, as well as for our singers, who are eager to connect with their fans.”

While Mr. Gelb will be producing the event from his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mr. Nézet-Séguin will be co-hosting from his apartment in Montreal. Mr. Nézet-Séguin will also be participating in the gala as a pianist.

The gala will start at 1pm EDT, the regularly scheduled time for the Met’s Saturday matinee performances, and will be available via the Met’s website at After the live showing, the program will continue to be available on demand on the Met website until 6:30pm EDT the following day. The complete program will be announced shortly.

Some of the artists participating in this gala are Diana Damrau, Michael Fabiano, Isabel Leonard, René Pape, Ailyn Pérez, Matthew Polenzani, Elza van de Heever, Pretty Yende, Renée Fleming, Elīna Garanča, Erin Morley and Anita Rachvelishvili.

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Elza van den Heever makes her staged role debut as The Empress

Elza van den Heever returns to the role of The Empress after her successful debut in the concert performances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic last February.

“Tout change quand paraît l’Impératrice. Timbre d’argent cousu d’or, avec un aigu agile comme le vol de l’hirondelle, un galbe de la phrase aux souplesses félines, Elza van den Heever est la grande triomphatrice de la soirée. L’incarnation aura besoin de se libérer, mais pour une première fois, c’est déjà un accomplissement, qui impose l’artiste parmi les grands sopranos Strauss d’aujourd’hui.”


This time, she stars in a production by Katie Mitchell, which will be performed at the Dutch National Opera from April 25 – May 20 and Marc Albrecht on the podium. Joining her are AJ Glueckert, Michaela Schuster, Sebastian Holecek, Julietta Aleksanyan, Eva Kroon, Peter Gijsbertsen, Josef Wagner, Iréne Theorin, Andri Björn Róbertsson, Sam Carl and Paul Kaufman.

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Elza van den Heever nominated for the International Opera Awards

Elza van den Heever has been nominated for the International Opera Awards in the Female Singer category alongside Maria Agresta, Lise Davidsen, Christine Goerke, Kate Lindsey and Lisette Oropesa. Winners will be announced at the 2020 International Opera Awards on Monday 4th May at Sadler’s Wells.

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Die Frau ohne Schatten role debut

Building on the collaboration which produced the masterpieces Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier and Ariadne auf Naxos in the space of just a few years, Strauss collaborates once again with his favourite librettist, the poet Hofmannsthal, for a new operatic venture in a similar vein to Die Zauberflöte. The heroine is an immortal whose inability to bear children is symbolised by her lack of a shadow. She can only become truly human and give birth if she relinquishes her immortality. Strauss expresses this dilemma in a singspiel in which two couples, one immortal and the other mortal, reveal themselves on an initiatory journey littered with obstacles. The work blends fantasy and tragedy in order to highlight an intensely humanist message of solidarity. Composed during the very darkest days of World War I, Die Frau ohne Schatten is unprecedented in operatic terms for its expression of the workings of barbarity, whilst envisaging a positive outcome for a world in mourning. The intelligence and richness of the libretto, expressed in dazzling symphonic and vocal writing, make this one of the most mysterious and appealing works penned by the Strauss-Hofmannsthal duo.

This February, Elza van den Heever makes role debut as The Empress in a concert version of Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten, joining Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic in a three city tour. The performances take place on February 17 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, February 20 at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and February 23 at the Rotterdam Philharmonic. The cast also features Stephan Gould, Michaela Schuster, Michael Volle, Lise Lindstrom, Katrien Baerts, Thomas Oliemans, Bror Magnus Tødenes, Andreas Conrad, Michael Wilmering and Nathan Berg.

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