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“Blessed with a plush, dramatic voice capable of formidable power and dazzling high notes …” (Associated Press)
Acclaimed soprano Elza van den Heever brings her signature vocalism and renowned stage presence to celebrated international venues in the 2021/22 season. Her first operatic engagement takes her to San Francisco Opera, marking the house’s return to live performances. She will star as Leonore in Matthew Ozawa’s bold new production of Beethoven’s Fidelio, led by Eun Sun Kim.
She returns to Staatsoper Berlin as Elsa in Calixto Bieito’s production of Lohengrin, stars as the title role in Handel’s Rodelinda at the Metropolitan Opera, conducted by Harry Bicket, and then concludes the season at Opéra national de Paris as Chrysothemis in Robert Carsen’s celebrated production of Elektra.
On the concert stage, she performs Berg’s Sieben frühe Lieder and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem with the Orchestre de Paris under the baton of Simone Young. With the Staatskapelle Berlin, conducted by Daniel Barenboim, Elza is the soprano soloist in Bruckner’s joyful Te Deum. She returns to Carnegie Hall for a recital with pianist Vlad Iftinca to perform Sieben frühe Lieder and Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder. Her performance part of the Met Opera’s Stars Live in Concert series, “Wagnerians in Concert,” will be broadcasted on PBS’ Great Performances.
Highlights of the 2020/21 season included a performance of Strauss’ Four Last Songs with the Orchestre de Paris, led by Simone Young, which was broadcasted by The Philharmonie Live; a performance in the Metropolitan Opera’s At-Home Gala; and then the Met Opera’s “Wagnerians in Concert,” part of the Met Stars Live in Concert series, streamed live from Wiesbaden, Germany.
In the 2019/20 season, she debuted as Julia in a new production by Johannes Erath of Spontini’s La Vestale at the Theater an der Wien. She later returned to The Metropolitan Opera to sing her first Marie in Berg’s Wozzeck opposite baritone Peter Mattei and conducted by the Met’s Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. This production, a highlight of the Met Opera season, also received a Live in HD broadcast.
Returning to Europe, Ms. van den Heever made her greatly anticipated role debut as Die Kaiserin in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten, singing it first in Paris and then in Rotterdam presented in concert; both performances were conducted by Mo. Nézet-Séguin. Later in the season, she revisited the role in a staged production at Dutch National Opera. She starred as Leonore in Fidelio in Paris under the baton of Simone Young, and lastly, sang Elsa von Brabant in Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Opernhaus Zürich.
Additionally, Elza performed Verdi’s Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner at the Royal Festival Hall; Mahler’s epic Symphony No. 8 at the Bayerische Staatsoper with the Orchestra Academy of the Bayerisches Staatsorchester under the baton of Kirill Petrenko; and Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra led by Mo. Nézet-Séguin at Carnegie Hall.
Elza has performed several roles to great acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera, including Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo, Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda in her notable Met debut: “[Elza is] a vocally burnished and emotionally tempestuous Elizabeth … her voice has penetrating depth and character. She turns flights of coloratura passagework into bursts of jealousy and defiance” (The New York Times).
She was unforgettable in the title role of Norma in a new Christopher Alden-directed production for Opéra National de Bordeaux. Other signature portrayals in Europe have included Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes at the English National Opera and Wiener Staatsoper. As Elsa in Lohengrin at the Opernhaus Zürich, she was described as “… sharing more than a first name with the Wagnerian heroine. Her vocal lines are sophisticated, diction impeccable, and her inflection and nuances serve to depict Elsa as a young woman who is at once daring, bold and strong. This is truly wondrous in the second act during the verbal sparring with Ortrud, as well as in the final dramatic scene, in which her defiance is breathtaking” (Forum Opéra).