//  Critical Acclaim

Fidelio at the San Francisco Opera

“Russell Thomas and Elza Van Den Heever have well-matched heroic voices that exhibit great beauty of tone when buoyed up by Conductor Eun Sun Kim’s large, musically colorful orchestra. Van Den Heever’s “Abscheulicher, wo eilst du hin?” (“Monster, where are you hurrying”) showed her ability to sing in a florid style with splendid, long, Bel Canto phrases and a modicum of accurate coloratura. She easily encompassed the cold fury of the opening phrases and the warmth of the ensuing rainbow-clad dream. A fine actor as well, she communicated a wife’s love for her husband whenever she did not have to pretend to be a male prison guard.”

Broadway World

“Her flak jacket emblazoned with a giant SECURITY logo on the back, van den Heever was endearingly klutzy and vocally self-effacing in her male disguise. But when she launched her vow to save her imprisoned husband’s life, her lustrous soprano rang out in gorgeously ascendant arches.”

San Francisco Classical Voice

“Soprano Elza van den Heever, in what is effectively the title role of Leonore, and tenor Russell Thomas as her husband Florestan, rose to their respective star moments — a luminous account of the Act 1 aria “Komm, Hoffnung” for her…”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Soprano Elza van den Heever sang the heroine Leonore/Fidelio, making her long-awaited return to San Francisco. Van den Heever sang with ardor and luster, her voice tender and filled with longing in early scenes. When she sheds her disguise in Act two, revealing herself to be Leonore, her voice was full of passion and heroism. […]

By Act two, Van den Heever’s vocal and physical energy surged. She embodied Leonore’s determination to save Florestan in her actions and the power of her voice, which was sinuous and rich, as she sang of her courage to go to any lengths to free her beloved. When she drops the Fidelio disguise, she liberates both herself and Florestan from all layers of imprisonment, repudiating separation, injustice, and false accusation.”