Elza van den Heever South African soprano
South African soprano Elza van den Heever announced as a recipient of the Opera News Awards. Photo: FB / Elza van den Heever

South African soprano Elza van den Heever has been named as a recipient of the 17th Annual Opera News Awards. The 42-year-old will be celebrated, along with two other singers from the US, for her achievement in opera at the Awards Gala on 3 April 2022.

Elza – who is based in France and is a dual South African / French citizen – took to social media on Tuesday evening to share the good news, saying: “I am thrilled to be one of this year’s recipients of the Opera News Award with my wonderful colleagues (mezzo-soprano) Denyce Graves and (baritone) Quinn Kelsey! Thank you to the entire Opera News team for this incredible honor. I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone this April in New York!!”

Opera News Awards recipients
The Opera News Awards recipients have been announced: Denyce Graves, Quinn Kelsey and Elza van den Heever. Photo: FB / Elza van den Heever

The black-tie gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York City will mark the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s return to live, in-person events. Musical tributes by J’Nai Bridges and Piotr Beczala will be performed in honour of the recipients. The gala will also feature appearances by Nina Stemme and Christian Van Horn.

Opera News Editor Paul Driscoll said it gives Opera News and the Metropolitan Opera Guild “special joy to celebrate” the three honorees “whose talent, integrity and courage are abiding sources of inspiration.”


Of Elza, who was born and raised in Johannesburg, Driscoll said:

“Elza van den Heever’s performances are blessed with her shining, generous spirit and charged by her formidable sense of adventure; her glorious soprano and her fierce dramatic commitment have galvanized audiences throughout the world. Born in South Africa and trained in the United States, van den Heever has now taken her rightful place in the great opera houses of the world. She began the current season with a triumphant return to San Francisco Opera as Beethoven’s Leonore and the coming months will find her in Berlin, New York and Paris bringing her unique interpretive magic to the music of Wagner, Handel and Richard Strauss.”

Individual tickets to the OPERA NEWS Awards are available beginning at $1,000 with tables available from $10,000.

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