SA opera singer Pretty Yende gets standing ovation at Barbican

Pretty Yende pictured at the Barbican Hall. Picture: Facebook

Pretty Yende pictured at the Barbican Hall. Picture: Facebook

Published Nov 26, 2019


Acclaimed opera soprano Pretty Yende performed to a standing ovation on Monday at the Barbican Hall, London the culmination of her first EU recital tour. 

Yende, referred to by the Washington Post as having a "voice that can reach the stars"and, as a "modern fairy tale", put on two encores for the rousing audience following her solo recital that included works by Robert and Clara Schumann, Tosti, Donizetti, Richard Strauss and Johann Strauss II.

Just hours before the show that packed the prestigious London centre, Yende posted on Facebook about her tour: "We’ve had incredible thrilled (sic) on our first EU recital tour with my dear friend and colleague @micheledeliapianist “, from our first one and memorable one in @oper_frankfurt , then our return to beloved @operzuerich (truly unique and special occasion, then Michele’s debut at Smetana Hall in Prague ... truly triumphant and such a dream come true for both of us and the wonderful audience in the beautiful Czech Republic. Thank you all so much for your tremendous love and support making each performance that much special."

Ahead of the tumultuous applause she received on at the Barbican she went on to say on her post,  "Tonight marks our last stop for this leg of recital performances the wondrous Barbican Hall @barbicancentre tonight 7.30. We can’t even begin to express our joy for tonight’s recital as it  ... almost had to be cancelled due to visa processing. We can’t wait to share beautiful music, exquisite poetry through most poetic text and melodies with all of you."

Yende's recital tour that took her to the Opernhaus Zürich on November 17, Prague’s Smetana Hall on November 20, and following her much revered performance last night she will be performing at the Carnegie Hall on December 4. 

Born in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga in 1985, Yende started training for opera at the tender age of age 16 after seeing a British Airways TV advertisement that featured the Flower Duet from Lakmé. 

She graduated cum laude at the South African College of Music and then trained at La Scala in Milan, Italy. 

Her younger sister, Nombulelo Yende, is also an opera singer.

Among her many honours she won first prize in 2011 at Operalia, The World Opera Competition, held that year in Moscow. In 2012 she came full circle at La Scala, where she sang the role of Musetta in Puccini's opera "La Bohème". 

Among others she has also performed at the Los Angeles Opera, the Paris Opera and last year made her debut as Adina in Bartlett Sher's production of "L'elisir d'amore" at the Metropolitan Opera. 

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