Artist of the Week: Pretty Yende to Take New York Audiences By Storm in Two Productions

By Francisco Salazar

Its rare to become an overnight sensation nowadays in the opera world. It takes years for some singers while others struggle to even get noticed and ink to obscurity. However, for Pretty Yende her career has taken a turn in places she least expected. This season the soprano is taking New York audiences by storm as she will sing two productions at the Metropolitan Opera.

However, the story does not even start with the Met performances. It begins with the release of her new album “A Journey” which is receiving rave reviews and is bringing the young singers to new audiences. She will be present at the Met Opera Shop to sign copies of the CD to her fervent fanbase.

And even more surprising was her recent appearance at the “Late Show” with Stephen Colbert. Not only did the young singer impresses with virtuosic coloratura and her high flying high notes but she also got o meet her idol Oprah Winfrey. 

With so much success in a short few months, Yende is ready to continue to conquer Met audiences as she takes on another Rossini heroine. She will sing Rosina in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia.” She has already sang the role to much acclaim in Paris and if the preview on the Colbert show was anything to look forward to, Yende should expect standing ovations at the end of the night. And with Javier Camarena as her Count Almaviva, this will be a night to remember and one that will be filled with interminable applauds.

Once she finishes the run of Rosina, the soprano continues at the Met as second cast as Juliette in Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette.” But unlike Rosina this is a role Yende has never sung. The role should definitely showcase another side to her. Unlike the Rossini, Donizetti’s or Bellini heroines that most people are so used to hearing her in, this is a role that explores her lyrical side as well as her dramatic side. The role has a significance to Yende as it was with the famous potion aria that Yende won the International Hans Gabor Belvedere competition in 2009 where captivated judges and won every single award. As a result, not only should audiences expect to be heartbroken by her interpretation, they should expect exceptional acting from the young soprano.

Yende first garnered interest after she won the the Operalia competition in 2011 in all categories and became the first singer to ever do so. Two year later she made her unexpected Metropolitan Opera debut replacing Nino Machaidze in Rossini’s “Le Comte Ory.” This launched her career and from there it was history as she started making debuts all over the world in Berlin, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Hamburg and Paris. She is also a frequent artist at La Scala where she was part of the young artist program.

Looking ahead at Yende’s hectic schedule, she will excite Rome audiences in a rarely staged production of Auber’s “Fra Diavolo” and will sing the role of Adina in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore” at the Royal Opera House. With even more coming this an artist will making great headlines for a long time.


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