South African Soprana Elza Van Heever Triumphs In Role Of Elettra In Met’s Production Of Mozart’s Operatic Masterpiece, Indomeneo

Local opera lovers are in for a treat when the next production from the current Met: Live in HD season releases on the big screen at Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor cinemas. They will have the opportunity to watch South African-born soprano, Elza van den Heever, who stars in the virtuosic role of Princess Elettra in Mozart’s first operatic masterpiece, Idomeneo, of love and vengeance following the Trojan War.

The production will be shown in Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor cinemas from Saturday, 29 April, for limited screenings.

Elza van den Heever is joined by a stellar ensemble including Matthew Polenzani in the title role of the King of Crete, Idomeneo, with Nadine Sierra as Illia, Alice Coote as Idamante and Alan Opie as Arbace. This classic production from Jean–Pierre Ponnelle, which has its first Met revival in over a decade this season, is under the baton of the Metropolitan Opera’s famed Music Director Emeritus James Levine. He also conducted the first Met staging of this opera in 1982.

“Here is the Met at its best. … [James] Levine conducts, drawing a refined and affecting performance from the great Met orchestra and chorus and an impressive cast” (New York Times). Matthew Polenzani gives a “poignant, gripping performance” (New York Times) as the king torn by a rash vow; mezzo-soprano Alice Coote “exudes noble passion and dignity” (Financial Times) in the trouser role of his noble son Idamante; soprano Nadine Sierra sings “with expressivity and tenderness” (New York Times) as the princess Ilia; and soprano Elza van den Heever “triumphs” (New York Times) as the volatile Elettra, who loves Idamante to the bounds of madness.

The opera was first performed at the Court Theatre (now the Cuvilliés Theatre) in Munich in 1781, conducted by the 25-year-old Mozart and starring the great 18th-century tenor Anton Raaff. Idomeneo is set in Crete, about 1200 BC. Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Greece, has been carried off by Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, triggering the Trojan War. As she is also the sister-in-law of Agamemnon, several Greek kings allied with him have joined forces to lay siege to the city of Troy. One of these kings is Idomeneo (Idomeneus) of Crete. Having been away for many years, Idomeneo has, prior to his victorious return, sent ahead of him some Trojan captives, including Priam’s daughter, the Princess Ilia. On her arrival in Crete she is rescued from a storm by Idomeneo’s young son, Idamante, who has ruled as regent in his father’s absence. The two have fallen in love. Princess Elettra, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, also loves Idamante. After Elettra and her brother, Oreste, killed their mother and her lover, she was forced to flee their home in Argos and has taken refuge in Crete.

Screening times for Idomeneo at Nouveau (Rosebank Mall, JHB; Brooklyn Mall, PTA; SK Gateway Commercial, DBN; and V&A Waterfront, CT) and select Ster-Kinekor cinemas are as follows: 29 April at 17:00; 30 April at 14:30; 02 and 10 May at 11:30; and 09 May at 18:00. All the ticket discounts and benefits offered to members of the Ster-Kinekor loyalty programmes, SK Club, Discovery Vitality and Edgars Club, do apply for the Met: Live in HD screenings, where applicable.

The running time of Idomeneo is 4hrs, including two intervals.

For more information and to make bookings for Idomeneo, part of The Met: Live in HD season, visit Follow us on Twitter @nouveaubuzz and on Facebook at Cinema Nouveau. For information, call Ticketline on 0861-Movies (668 437).

Now in its eleventh year, The Met: Live in HD series is screened in cinemas around the world, including exclusive releases at Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor cinemas in South Africa. The Met’s current season presents ten opulent, full-length operas including five new productions, three of which are new to the series. The series has become a global phenomenon with more than 19 million tickets sold since its inception ten years ago.

These grand operas, filmed at the iconic Metropolitan Opera House, feature some of the world’s most talented singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers and dancers.

With these exclusive productions, Nouveau continues to give local audiences the opportunity to witness these spectacular ‘live’ opera productions broadcast on the big screen, in full digital projection, at various sites across South Africa. Past productions have received critical acclaim and gained recognition around the world.

The Met: Live in HD – 2016-17 Schedule

The season opened on 19 November with Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and was followed by Wagner’s epic tragedy, Tristan und Isolde from 03 December and the series’ first broadcast of Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin (07 January 2017). February saw Verdi’s famous Nabucco (04 February) and Charles Gounod’s lush adaptation of Shakespeare’s Roméo et Juliette (11 February) broadcast on the big screen, with Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak released on 25 March, Verdi’s La Traviata from 08 April and Idomeneo by Wolfang Amadeus Mozart (29 April).

The final ttwo productions in the current season are Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (20 May), and Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (10 June).

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers.

Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry.

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