‘Kochen ist auch eine Kunst’

Read the entire Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung feature at the following link.


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‘When The Costume Isn’t Enough’

Opera News

“If I had to imagine what it is like to fly,” muses Elza van den Heever, “I’d think of singing above the staff, full throttle over an orchestra. That is, to me, the embodiment of freedom.” Listeners who encounter the South African soprano in performance are bound to have quite a high-altitude musical adventure themselves. With her laser-bright top notes and pointed interpretive intelligence, van den Heever, who bows at the Met on New Year’s Eve as Elisabetta in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, has quickly ascended to the front rank of singers among her generation. She is that rare vocal breed, a dramatic soprano of Wagnerian proportions whose shimmering instrument is also a “fast” voice with the requisite agility for negotiating the difficult passagework of the Baroque repertory, as well as the power for the Verdi canon and the jugendlich dramatische German repertoire.

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Image: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

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‘Soprano Elza van den Heever finds her true voice’


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.

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Image: Lacy Atkins

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“La joie de chanter”

Sud Ouest

Avant d’aborder Leonora du « Trouvère » et le Compositeur d’« Ariane à Naxos », Elza van den Heever s’expose en récital ce midi. Strauss au programme.

Elza van den Heever aime tout chanter, le dit et ça s’entend. La première fois à Bordeaux, et même en France, c’était en mai 2008 pour une Elettra splendide, voix généreuse et capable de phrasés aériens, dans l’« Idomeneo » réglé par Iannis Kokkos. Sous les applaudissements. « Je ne m’attendais pas à pareil accueil. On se sent bien, ici… »

Depuis, la soprano sud-africaine enchaîne les prises de rôle avec un appétit qui sait se faire raisonnable. À Francfort souvent, ailleurs aussi, y compris aux USA où elle a débuté, il y a eu Elisabetta de « Don Carlos », Elsa de « Lohengrin », Fiordiligi de « Cosi fan Tutte » Vitelia de « La Clémence de Titus », Agathe du « Freischütz ».

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Opernwelt feature

Nicht erst seit ihrer gefeierten Desdemona an der Oper Frankfurt gilt sie als eine der interessantesten jungen Sängerinnen auf dem internationalen Markt: Elza van den Heever, 32, hat sich in den vergangenen Spielzeiten zwischen Wagners Elsa, dem Komponisten aus Strauss’ « Ariadne auf Naxos » und Mozarts Donna Anna win weites Repertoire erarbeitet, 2012 gibt sie ihr Debüt an der Metropolitan Opera

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Sound Bites feature

Opera News

Elza van den Heever, who makes her Santa Fe Opera debut next month in Don Giovanni, refuses to believe that Donna Anna is a damsel in distress: “She’s muchmore coy than anybody portrays her – or chooses to direct her. Obviously the backstory to the opera is that there was an attraction to Giovanni, and she’s flirty, and she’s young. She’s probably just like any other teenager – up to no good. I’m sure she’s had her fair share of indiscretions. Her downfall, of course, is that her father gets killed. It’s her remorse that makes her seem to be this quote-unquote ‘pathetic’ character, which I don’t believe she is at all.”

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