The New York Times reports that soprano Elza van den Heever, who sings the role of Elizabeth I in the Met's upcoming production of "Maria Stuarda," has shaved her head for the role. The historical Queen Elizabeth was known to wear spectacular wigs - something of a custom among the wealthy in the day, not only as a fashion statement but as a way to reduce the annoyance of head lice. She was also rumored to have gone bald after illnesses in her youth.
Van den Heever, 33, of South Africa, has previously sung in with the companies in San Francisco and Europe. Donizetti's "Maria Stuarda," with Joyce DiDonata in the title role, will be her Met debut.
Anchorage opera buffs can see the results and judge the singing when the Met performance is broadcast live - or rather on a four-hour delay - at local Century and Regal theaters, 12:55 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19.