I invited my neighbors Elza van den Heever and her good friend Kelly Miller over for spaghetti on Monday night, and it was too much fun. Elza is the soprano who made her startling debut as Donna Anna in the San Francisco Opera's "Don Giovanni" last summer while she was one of the student Adler Fellows. She then went on to sing small parts in "Appomattox," "The Magic Flute," and "Macbeth" during the Opera's fall season before graduating into the wider world of an international opera career.
She recently starred in a new production of Puccini's "Il Trittico" in Frankfurt, playing Giorgetta in the first act "Il Tabarro," and it seems all went rather well. Here's a quote from a review in the London "Financial Times" (click here for the whole thing):
"The final ace up the Frankfurt Opera's sleeve is its first-rate casting, an exemplary mix of house stalwarts and astonishing surprises. Into the latter category falls South African Elza van den Heever, giving her German debut as Giorgetta. It is a performance of remarkable emotional conviction and technical assurance, with a freshness and originality that lesser houses might only dream of finding."Before going on to the Bordeaux Opera to sing Elettra in Mozart's "Idomeneo" this summer, Elza returned home to San Francisco for a month where she sang a recital at the Hotel Rex downtown to a packed house. For a review by the Opera Tattler, click here, and for one by Jason Serinus at the San Francisco Classical Voice, click here. Jason ends his account with "How could anyone not love this woman, nor want her to succeed?" and I can only echo the sentiment.