Author Archive

‘La Vestale’ in Paris

This month, Elza van den Heever stars as Julia in Gaspare Spontini’s rarely-seen La Vestale at the Paris Opera. Following her successful debut in the role in 2019 at MusikTheater an der Wein, van den Heever brings her acclaimed portrayal to a new audience in this captivating masterpiece.

The opera follows the tale of Julia, a sacred vestal virgin in ancient Rome, who defies her vows by falling in love with Licinius, a renowned general. Their clandestine romance sparks a gripping clash between love and duty, ultimately resolved by a divine intervention that spares Julia from punishment and reunites the star-crossed lovers. As Lydia Steier’s new production delves into themes of political extremism, the opera takes on a renewed relevance, offering a thought-provoking exploration of love, power, and sacrifice.

Under the baton of famed conductor Bertrand de Billy, the brilliant cast includes Michael Spyres as Licinius, Eve-Maud Hubeaux as La Grand Vestale, Julien Behr as Cinna, Jean Teitgen as Le Souverain Pontife, and Florent Mbia as Le Chef des Aruspices.

The performances will occur on June 12, 15, 19, 23, 26, 29, July 2, 5, 8, and 11 at Opéra Bastille.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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‘Die Walküre’ with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra

This spring, Elza van den Heever makes her long-awaited debut as Sieglinde in Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Four concert performances of the monumental work are scheduled, starting at de Doelen (Grand Hall) in Rotterdam on April 26, followed by shows at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden on April 28, Kozerthaus Dortmund on May 1, and concluding at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, France, on May 4.

The phenomenal cast is also slated to feature Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Siegmund, Soloman Howard as Hunding, Brian Mulligan as Wotan, Karen Cargill as Fricka, Tamara Wilson as Brünnhilde, Jessica Faselt as Helmwige, Brittany Olivia Logan as Gerhilde, Justyna Bluj as Ortlinde, Iris van Wijnen as Waltraute, Maria Barakova as Siegrune, Ronnita Miller as Grimgerde, Anna Kissjudit as Schwertleite, and Catriona Morison as Roßweiße.

Photo: Dario Acosta

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‘Elektra’ in Baden-Baden and Berlin

On March 23, 26 and 31, Elza van den Heever will grace the stage as Chrysothemis alongside conductor Kirill Petrenko and the Berlin Philharmonic in Richard Strauss’ monumental opera, Elektra, at the esteemed Baden-Baden Easter Festival. This eagerly anticipated production, under the direction of Philipp Stölzl, promises a fresh interpretation of the one-act psycho-drama, adding a new dimension to this timeless masterpiece. Following this engagement, the ensemble will journey to Berlin for concert performances of the opera at the iconic Berlin Philharmonie on April 4 and 7.

The stellar cast boasts acclaimed artists including Nina Stemme portraying Elektra, Michaela Schuster as Klytämnestra, Johan Reuter as Orest, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke as Aegisth, and a lineup of talented performers in supporting roles, including Anthony Robin Schneider, Serafina Starke, Anna Denisova, Lucas van Lierop, Andrew Harris, Kirsi Tiihonen, Katharina Magiera, Marvic Monreal, Alexandra Ionis, Dorothea Herbert, and Lauren Fagan.

Photo: Dario Acosta

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‘Tannhäuser’ at The Metropolitan Opera

Elza van den Heever is set to make her highly anticipated debut as Elisabeth in Wagner’s Tannhäuser at The Metropolitan Opera this holiday season.

The cast features a lineup of acclaimed performers, including tenor Andreas Schager in the title role, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova as Venus, baritone Christian Gerhaher as Wolfram, and bass Georg Zeppenfeld as Hermann. Maestro Sir Donald Runnicles will conduct the exemplary production by director Otto Schenk and set designer Günther Schneider-Siemssen, first seen at The Met in December of 1977.

Scheduled performances are on November 30, December 3, 6, 9, 12, 16, 19, and 23. The November 30, December 12, and 23 shows will be broadcast live on SiriusXM.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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‘Die Frau ohne Schatten’ at Wiener Staatsoper

This October, Elza van den Heever returns to the Wiener Staatsoper in one of her new signature roles: the Empress in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten. This comes on the heels of her resounding success in the role during the previous season’s performances at the Easter Festival Baden-Baden.

In 2020, Ms. van den Heever made her debut in this role, earning resounding acclaim while performing alongside the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under the masterful baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Such was her artistry that Bachtrack wrote:

“The Empress presented no technical hurdles for soprano Elza van den Heever. She had the agility and lightness for her first scene, when the young bride is so insubstantial that “light passes through her as if she were made of glass”, and the fullness and shine required in the rest of the role. To soar in this high-lying music with such consistent quality is no mean feat, especially considering that Van den Heever was making her role debut during this mini-tour, of which Rotterdam was the third and last stop… In her emotional intensity, surrounded by the sonic theatre conjured up by Nézet-Séguin, she was as white-hot as her high notes.”

Originated for the Wiener Staatsoper in 2019, Vincent Huguet’s production of the distorted fairytale boasts an exquisite stage design meticulously crafted by Aurélie Maestre. The evocative atmosphere is further enhanced by the minimalist yet striking costume designs by Clémence Pernoud, while Bertrand Couderc’s masterful work in light and video design adds a mesmerizing visual dimension to the production.

Under the baton of Christian Thielemann, Ms. van den Heever graces the stage alongside a stellar ensemble, including Andreas Schager as the Emperor, Tanja Ariane Baumgartner as the Nurse, Michael Volle as Barak and Elena Pankratova as Barak’s wife, and Clemens Unterreiner as Spirit Messenger. Christian

The performances are scheduled for October 14, 17, 21, and 24.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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‘The Flying Dutchman’ in Santa Fe

This summer, Elza van den Heever graces the stage of Santa Fe Opera once again, taking on the role of Senta in Wagner’s masterpiece, The Flying Dutchman. Following her highly acclaimed role debut at the Metropolitan Opera this spring, Operawire stated:

“As Senta, Elza van den Heever delivered everything one would want from a Wagnerian singer. Clear top notes; vocal mass and volume to ride the orchestral tidal waves; rich legato that gives this music its life; towering stage presence.”

Adding an intriguing twist to the haunting folktale, the renowned director David Alden presents a fresh production that explores the modern relevance of the opera. Alden’s visionary approach highlights the pervasive influence of industrial capitalism and its profound consequences on the seas. Through this contemporary lens, audiences will embark on a captivating journey that delves into the captivating tale of the ghostly Dutchman and the transformative power of societal forces.

The stellar cast also includes Nicholas Brownlee as the Dutchman, Chad Shelton as Erik, Morris Robinson as Daland, Gretchen Krupp as Mary, and Bille Bruley as the Steersman. Thomas Guggeis will conduct the run through to August 15, while Alden Gatt is set to lead the final performance.

Performances are scheduled for July 1, 7, 12, 31, August 5, 10, 15, and 25.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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Role Debut in ‘Der Fliegende Holländer’ at The Metropolitan Opera

Elza van den Heever is set to make her role debut as Senta in Der Fliegende Holländer at The Metropolitan Opera this spring. Under the baton of Thomas Guggeis, this otherworldly production showcases the creative vision of French-Canadian Director Francois Girard, who originally crafted this immersive experience for the Festival d’opéra de Québec in 2019, followed by its success at the Met Opera in 2020. Seamlessly intertwining powerful storytelling, breathtaking visuals, and the evocative score of Wagner, this production promises an unforgettable journey. Joining Ms. van den Heever on stage are notable talents including Tomasz Konieczny as the Dutchman, Eric Cutler as Erik, Dmitry Belosselskiy as Daland, and Richard Trey Smagur as Steuermann.

The performances are scheduled for May 30, June 3, 7, and 10.

Photo: Jiyang Chen

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Bruckner with the Philadelphia Orchestra

On May 5 and 6, Elza van den Heever joins renowned conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center for a concert featuring works by Austrian composer Anton Bruckner.

The program will begin with Bruckner’s sacred choral work, “Christus factus est,” followed by the composer’s Symphony No. 9. The Ninth Symphony, considered one of Bruckner’s most significant works, was left unfinished at the time of his death in 1896. The orchestra will perform the piece as the composer intended, with Te Deum as its finale. Gustav Mahler, who treasured Bruckner’s score, described it as written “for the tongues of angels.”

Ms. van den Heever completes a thrilling quartet of soloists for these performances including mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, tenor Sean Panikkar, and bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green. They will also be joined by the Philadelphia Symphonic Choir, directed by Joe Miller.

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