Yende at a concert performance of Lucia di Lammermoor in Cape Town in April 2013
Early life and education
Born in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga, Yende was inspired to learn opera at age 16 after seeing a British Airways TV advertisement that featured the Flower Duet from Lakmé. She subsequently enrolled at the South African College of Music, where her teachers included Virginia Davids, and from which she graduated cum laude. She also graduated from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Her younger sister, Nombulelo Yende, is also an opera singer.
Yende won first prize in operetta and opera at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition 2009 in Vienna, and in 2010 the first prize at the Vincenzo Bellini International Competition and the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition. In 2011, she won first prize at Operalia, The World Opera Competition, held that year in Moscow.
In 2012, she sang the role of Musetta in Puccini's opera La bohème at La Scala in Milan. Yende made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York City on 17 January 2013, in the role of Adèle in Rossini's opera Le comte Ory, as a substitute for Nino Machaidze. In 2015 she portrayed Susanna in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the Los Angeles Opera. In 2016 she portrayed Rosina in The Barber of Seville and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Paris Opera.
Yende is credited for her vocals in Andrea Bocelli's Concerto: One Night in Central Park (2011), and as a primary artist for the "Ode À L'Humanité" (Ode to Humanity, previously called Aria) track on the Yanni/Plácido Domingo collaboration Inspirato (2014).
Awards and honours
Yende was conferred the Silver Order of Ikhamanga on 27 April 2013. In a statement by the chairperson of the National Orders Advisory Council, Dr. Cassius Lubisi, Yende was conferred the honour "for her excellent achievement and international acclaim in the field of world opera and serving as a role model to aspiring young musicians."
- Staff (1 February 2013). "Pretty Good Met Debut for Yende". Centre for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- Neophytou, Nadia (3 February 2013). "SA Soprano Pretty Yende takes NY by Storm". Eyewitness News (South Africa). Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (2013-02-01). "Little Time to Prepare; Now a Legacy to Keep". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
- "Concours Bellini – Promotion 2018". bellinibelcanto-internationalcompetition.com (in French). Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- 6th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition
- La Scala Database (undated). "La bohème – Giacomo Puccini – Teatro alla Scala Production – From 26 September to 26 October 2012". La Scala. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (2013-01-18). "Wily Suitors and the Challenges of Chastity". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
- "Pretty Yende: An Opera Star Whose Rise Began With A Fall". NPR News. March 20, 2015.
- Tom Huizenga (September 8, 2016). "Review: Pretty Yende, 'A Journey'". NPR News.
- "Pretty Yende / Credits". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- Mazzaro, Maria (January 2016). "Noteworthy & Now". Opera News. 80 (7). Retrieved 2016-10-17.
- Erica Jeal (2016-09-29). "Pretty Yende: A Journey CD review – fearless singing by new-wave South African". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-10-17.