Performance Friday, October 24, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Elza van den Heever
Vlad Iftinca

Weill Recital Hall
South African dramatic soprano Elza van den Heever won raves for her 2013 Metropolitan Opera debut as Elizabeth I in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda. Now this remarkable singer displays her tremendous range and versatility in her New York recital debut, singing Handel arias and songs by Schumann, Brahms, Fauré, and three South African composers.

Part of Salon Encores.


  • Elza van den Heever, Soprano
    New York Recital Debut
  • Vlad Iftinca, Piano


  • HANDEL "Mio caro bene" from Rodelinda
  • HANDEL "Ah! crudel, il pianto mio" from Rinaldo
  • SCHUMANN Frauenliebe und -leben
  • FAURÉ "Les roses d’Ispahan"
  • FAURÉ "Après un rêve"
  • FAURÉ "Clair de lune"
  • FAURÉ "Fleur jetée"
  • BRAHMS "Wie Melodien zieht es mir"
  • BRAHMS "O komme, holde Sommernacht"
  • BRAHMS "Die Mainacht"
  • BRAHMS "Von ewiger Liebe"
  • BRAHMS "Botschaft"
  • LE ROUX MARAIS "Heimwee"
  • LE ROUX MARAIS "Geboorte van die Lente"
  • LE ROUX MARAIS "Mali, die Slaaf se Lied"
  • PESCOD "Oktobermaand"
  • LEMMER "My Siel is siek van Heimwee"

At a Glance

Handel had a knack for creating strong female characters in his Italian operas. We begin this evening with two women of power, one admirable and the other not so much: a medieval Lombard queen whose love prevails over tyranny and a Saracen sorceress undone by passion.

Schumann turned almost exclusively to song composition in 1840, including the cycle Frauenliebe und -leben. Written in the same year as his marriage to the great pianist and composer Clara Wieck, Schumann created richly expressive music for Adelbert von Chamisso’s poems in which a woman recounts how she fell in love, married, bore a child, and mourned her beloved husband’s death.

Next, we hear four songs by Fauré, a consummate master of the late–19thcentury French art song. We are first transported to fantasy Persia, redolent of roses and infused with wistful sensuality, followed by a dreamy melody. A melancholy, courtly minuet in the moonlight is in stark contrast to the stormy final song, a whirlwind of passion and despair.

Brahms wrote lieder throughout his life, and we hear five of his greatest songs on tonight’s program: a meditation on poetry and music, an irresistible expression of youthful ardor, a profound evocation of moonlit grief, a dialogue between a girl and her lover, and a return to Persian exoticism.

It is not often that we in this country have a chance to hear the art song of South Africa, but Elza van den Heever gives us that opportunity tonight, with three of its most eminent poets and three of its art-song composers rounding out the program. Two songs about longing for the beautiful South African countryside enclose two songs about the arrival of spring, while at the center of the group is a melancholy song by a Cape Malay slave longing for her Javanese homeland.


UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa

Lead funding for UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa is provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the Mai Family Foundation, South African Tourism, and South African Airways.

UBUNTU is held in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa and the South African Consulate General in New York in celebration of South Africa’s 20 years of freedom and democracy.

Part of

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