A Journey: Pretty Yende

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A Journey: Pretty Yende
Pretty Yende (soprano) / Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Marco Armiliato, with Kate Aldrich (mezzo-soprano)

[ Sony Classics / CD ]

Release Date: Thursday 1 December 2016

"It was instantly clear to everyone there that she was ready for the world's greatest stages. She has an extraordinarily beautiful voice with a phenomenal technique, and she lights up the stage with charisma." - PLACIDO DOMINGO

Besides the much-loved Lakmé duet, which transformed Yende's life and opened her heart to the world of opera, the recording also includes the touching scene 'Vous que l'on dit' from Rossini's Le comte Ory. Yende gained dazzling international recognition in this opera when she starred opposite Juan Diego Flórez at the New York's Metropolitan Opera in January 2013.

Juliette's 'Amour ranime mon courage' from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette represents the aria performed at the International Belvedere Competition in 2009, in which she made history by becoming the first artist to win first prize in every category. This success also led to an offer to join the prestigious young artists' programme at La Scala in Milan.

With 'Ah, la pena' from Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda, Yende continued her success at international competitions. This time she scintillated in Plácido Domingo's renowned Operalia Competition in 2011. Again she was the first singer in history to receive not only the first prize but also the prize of the public and the Zarzuela prize.

A particularly significant and moving event for the young singer came when she returned to her homeland in 2013 to sing the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor in Cape Town. From this opera she has chosen the much-loved aria 'Regnava nel silenzio'.

The recording also includes 'Una voce poco fa' from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia (the opera of her Opéra National de Paris debut in February 2016)

Pretty Yende performs with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino under Marco Armiliato.

Born in 1985 in the small town of Piet Retief, about two hundred miles from Johannesburg, Yende's journey to become one of the world's most sought-after sopranos is like a modern fairy-tale. She was initially introduced to singing in a manner familiar to many South Africans - in her church choir. Then at the age of sixteen, she heard the Flower Duet from Lakmé on a British Airways television advertisement, and was so enraptured by its beauty that she determined to find out what it was. On learning that it was opera, she decided at that moment to abandon her plans to become an accountant, and train to become an opera singer instead.

She gained a scholarship to study at the South African College of Music in Cape Town with Professor Virginia Davids, the first black woman to appear on opera stages during the apartheid years in South Africa. With Davids's help, Yende triumphed at the 2009 Belvedere Competition and Operalia Competition (2011) and has joined the prestigious young artists' programme at La Sca

"What a lovely sound Pretty Yende makes! The South African soprano has a warm vibrato, a distinctly forward sound, excellent coloratura, and secure high notes (including an E-natural that nobody asked for at the end of an otherwise very entertaining "Un voce poco fa", which includes some delightful, unexpected embellishments)....Yende is in the same company as, say, Anna Moffo...She's certainly a great asset to the world of opera." ClassicsToday 08/10

"Hers is a lyric coloratura voice of real beauty and flexibility. There's a dash of cream to it, and she phrases with instinctive musicality and feel for line, meaning that her Bellini and Donizetti, in particular, have a real seductiveness to them…Yende isn't quite the finished product…[but she] is clearly a major talent, and one who is only going to get better" Gramophonew

"Her debut recording for Sony whets the appetite, tackling as it does some of the most fearsome challenges in the bel canto repertoire with fearless attack, plenty of zinging high notes (including a splendid high E casually capping Una voce poco fa from Rossini's Barber of Seville), and sensitivity to emotional mood and vocal colour." The Times, 23rd September 2016 ****

"The ubiquitous Flower Duet from Lakmé is on this portrait disc, but Yende's lustrous, appealingly forward soprano tone and somersaulting vocal agility are showcased far more effectively by the other six numbers...there's definitely something winning about Yende's fearless, can-do singing." The Guardian, 29th September 2016 ***

"On this basis of this disc, I can imagine Pretty Yende will soon be in demand all over the world." BBC Music Opera Choice Dec 2016


Respira io qui...Ma la sola...Ah, la pena in lor piombo (from Beatrice di Tenda)
O rendetemi la speme...Qui la voce sua soave...Vien, diletto (from I Puritani)

Sous le dôme épais (from Lakmé)

Ancor non giunse! ... Regnava nel silenzio…Quando rapito in estasi (from Lucia di Lammermoor)

Dieu! Quel frisson court dans mes veines from Romeo and Juliette

Una voce poco fa (from Il barbiere di Siviglia)
En Proie a la Tristesse (from Le Comte d'Ory)

Pretty Yende - A Journey