Author Archive

‘Elektra’ at Opéra national de Paris

 This May, Elza van den Heever will return to the Opéra national de Paris to perform as Chrysothemis in Strauss’ Elektra. She has garnered great acclaim in this role of the meek and sensitive sister to Elektra, with Bachtrack noting:

 “Elza van der Heever was a wonderful Chrysothemis, her voice warm and bronzed, with beautiful high notes sustained by a powerful middle range. I was impressed by her legato in the upper register, which helped in painting Chrysothemis as a tragic figure, a stark contrast to the weak, silly girl that she sometimes results.”

This lauded production by Robert Carsen will also star Christine Goerke as Elektra, Angela Denoke as Klytämnestra, Gerhard Siegel as Aegisth and Tómas Tomasson as Orest, with Semyon Bychkov and Case Scaglione sharing the conducting duties throughout the run.

Performances take place on May 13, 16, 19, 22, 26, 29 and June 1 at Opéra Bastille.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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Carnegie Hall Recital with Vlad Iftinca

On April 7, Elza van den Heever returns to Carnegie Hall for her great anticipated recital with pianist, Vlad Iftinca, featuring works by Alban Berg, Richard Wagner, Ludwig van Beethoven and Pieter De Villiers.

The program will begin with Berg’s Sieben frühe Lieder: a lush and colorful cycle of seven songs written between 1905 and 1908. Next, Ms. van den Heever and Mr. Iftinca will perform Seven Boerneef Songs by the South African composer and pianist, Pieter De Villiers. This set, written in the Afrikaans language, takes influences from the folk music of rural South Africa. Following this, the pair will perform Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, with text by Mathilde Wesendonck who happened to be the composer’s muse and the wife of his benefactor. The program will be rounded out with Beethoven’s stormy and dramatic scena, “Ah! perfido”, a thirteen-minute, sung monologue of a woman who has been scorned by her lover.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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‘Rodelinda’ at The Metropolitan Opera

On March 11, 15, 19, 24 and 27, Elza van den Heever will make a thrilling return to The Metropolitan Opera with her debut in the title role of Handel’s Rodelinda.

Stephen Wadsworth’s direction and Harry Bicket’s conducting will once again join forces for these performances. Following the premiere of the production in 2004, The New York Times wrote  “… But it’s the work itself, as staged by Stephen Wadsworth and conducted by Harry Bicket, both in their Met debuts, that should entice audiences to this landmark production, only the fourth Handel opera in the company’s history.” 

Joining her on stage will be Paul Appleby as Grimoaldo, Sasha Cooke as Eduige, Anthony Roth Costanzo as Unulfo, Iestyn Davies as Bertarido and Adam Plachetka as Garibaldo.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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Elza van den Heever named as recipients of the 17th Annual OPERA NEWS Awards

The recipients of the seventeenth annual OPERA NEWS Awards are soprano Elza van den Heever, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, and baritone Quinn Kelsey will be celebrated at a black-tie gala on Sunday, April 3, 2022, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, marking the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s return to live, in-person events.

J’Nai Bridges and Piotr Beczala will perform, and the gala will also feature appearances by Nina Stemme and Christian Van Horn.

Editor in Chief F. Paul Driscoll says: “Elza van den Heever’s performances are blessed with her shining, generous spirit and charged by her formidable sense of adventure; her glorious soprano and her fierce dramatic commitment have galvanized audiences throughout the world. Born in South Africa and trained in the United States, van den Heever has now taken her rightful place in the great opera houses of the world. She began the current season with a triumphant return to San Francisco Opera as Beethoven’s Leonore and the coming months will find her in Berlin, New York and Paris bringing her unique interpretive magic to the music of Wagner, Handel and Richard Strauss.”

Individual tickets to the OPERA NEWS Awards are available beginning at $1,000; individual Benefactor tickets are available at $1,250; and President’s Circle tickets at $1,500. In addition, Benefactor tables are available at $10,000; President’s Circle tables at $12,500; and Gold Circle tables at $15,000.

Proceeds from the gala and its live and silent auctions will benefit the education programs of the Metropolitan Opera Guild, which has published OPERA NEWS since 1936. A portion of each ticket purchase is tax deductible, as allowed by law. For event information, or to purchase tickets, please visit the Metropolitan Opera Guild website (www.metguild.org/awards) or call 212-769-7009.

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Bruckner’s ‘Te Deum’ at Staatsoper Berlin

On December 13 and 14, Elza van den Heever will join the Staatskapelle Berlin and Staatsopernchor Berlin for a special concert at Staatsoper Berlin. Conducted by the illustrious Daniel Barenboim, the concert will also feature a star-studded group of singers including Elīna Garanča, Siyabonga Maqungo and Jan Martiník. Together with Ms. van den Heever, they will perform as the soloists in Bruckner’s celebratory Te Deum. Other exciting repertoire being performed by the orchestra and chorus includes Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 In D Major »London«, Luca Francesconi’s Dentro Non Ha Tempo and Schubert’s Gesang Der Geister Über Den Wassern, D 714.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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‘Lohengrin’ at Staatsoper Berlin

On November 30, December 4 and 12, Elza van den Heever stars as Elsa of Brabant in Wagner’s Lohengrin at Staatsoper Berlin. She has garnered much acclaim for her portrayal of the role, having performed it at esteemed opera houses including Bayerische Staatsoper, Oper Frankfurt and Opernhaus Zürich.

This dark and thrilling production by Calixto Bieito, which originally premiered in a livestream by the company in 2020, will also feature other notable cast members including Gábor Bretz as Heinrich Der Vogler, Andreas Schager as Lohengrin, Martin Gantner as Friedrich Of Telramund, Ekaterina Gubanova as Ortrud and Adam Kutny as The King’s Herald. Thomas Guggeis conducts.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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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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