Elza van den Heever
Manager: Angela Maria Blasi
Management Territory: Worldwide
In a notable Met debut, Elza van den Heever, a 33-year-old South African soprano whose career is rising internationally, is a vocally burnished and emotionally tempestuous Elizabeth (Elisabetta). Her sound, with its earthy tinge and quick vibrato, is not conventionally beautiful. But her voice has penetrating depth and character. She turns flights of coloratura passagework into bursts of jealousy and defiance as Elizabeth contends with the threat that Mary, a blood relative, poses to her reign in England. Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times - January 1, 2013
“The triumph of the evening is South-African soprano Elza van den Heever’s spellbinding Leonora. First heard here in 2008 in the role of Elettra (Idomeneo) and most recently as the Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos), her role debut as Leonora will be long remembered here. Endowed with a true Verdian spinto voice, so rarely heard today, she suggests a timbre of endless possibilities. She delivers with equal effortlessness both the rapid cabalettas and the long, Bellini-esque phrases. In addition to a faultless vocal technique, she boasts a masterful top, sensuous bottom, and rich middle range, all seamlessly integrated. Her acting ability does not disappoint: a magnetic presence combined with dramatic flair and ever-present dignity are alternately electrifying and deeply moving. All in all, a genuine great talent to watch (perhaps someday the Elena of one’s dreams in a future Vespri siciliani!).” Concertonet, Emmanuel Andrieu, April 21, 2011
" Intendant Bernd Loebe's statement about being proud to have instinctively brought Elza van den Heever, born in South Africa and schooled in American anonymity, to Europe--is now understandable, after this breathtaking and stunning debut as Elsa. One would have to search through collections of recordings to find anything similar to the duel between Elsa and Charbonnet's Ortrud. Live, however, you seldom get it this good." Joachim Lange, Die Welt, May 2009
Following her professional debut as Donna Anna in San Francisco Opera's 2007 production of "Don Giovanni" and an internationally acclaimed European debut in 2008 as Giorgetta in Oper Frankfurt's production of "Il trittico", South African soprano Elza van den Heever's performances have taken her to major stages worldwide, including Opéra National de Paris, Munich's Bayerische Staatsoper, Vienna's Theater an der Wien, Opéra National de Bordeaux, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. "Blessed with a plush, dramatic voice capable of formidable power and dazzling high notes" (Associated Press), Ms. van den . . . Heever begins the 2012-13 season as Leonora in Verdi's Il Trovatore with Canadian Opera Company and goes on to make her Metropolitan Opera debut as Elisabetta in Donizetti's "Maria Stuarda" in a new David McVicar production opening December 31.
In addition to her critically acclaimed 2011 debut as Desdemona in Verdi's "Otello" with Oper Frankfurt, where Frankfurter Rundschau praised her "huge voice, full of tenderness and precision," Ms. van den Heever's most recent triumphs include outstanding role debuts as two formidable Handel characters: Armida in "Rinaldo" with Lyric Opera of Chicago and the title role of "Alcina" with Opéra National de Bordeaux. In her four year residency with Oper Frankfurt, Ms. van den Heever has had numerous acclaimed performances including Elisabetta di Valois in "Don Carlo", Elsa in "Lohengrin", the title role in Donizetti's "Anna Bolena" (concert version), Vitellia in "La clemenza di Tito", Antonia in "Les contes d'Hoffmann" and Desdemona in "Otello", in addition to concert performances of Verdi's monumental "Requiem". This season, as she concludes her residency in Frankfurt, Ms. van den Heever will perform role debuts as La Duchesse Hélène in the Company's new production of Verdi's "Les vêpres siciliennes" and as Elisabetta in concert performances of "Maria Stuarda", in addition to revisiting the role of Elettra in a new production of Mozart's "Idomeneo".