Elza van den Heever was well along in her career as a talented mezzo-soprano when her musical world turned upside down: It turned out everything she’d been doing was wrong – or at least, beside the point.
The news came during the South African artist’s first summer in the Merola Opera Program, and the messengers were two singers who could claim some expertise on the subject: Sheri Greenawald, who runs the program, and super-mezzo Dolora Zajick.
“They heard me sing, and they both said, ‘You are not a mezzo!’ ” van den Heever recalled during a recent interview. “Then they dragged me off into a practice room and got me singing high G’s. And suddenly I was a soprano.
Image: Lacy Atkins