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A Journey for World-Renowned Opera Singer Pretty Yende

Pretty Yende was first featured on the cover of Creative Feel for RMB Starlight Classics in 2009. We have since followed her meteoric rise and journey to becoming one of the most successful, internationally-renowned opera singers in the world today.

Pretty Yende‘s debut CD, A Journey, has been released internationally through Sony Classical International. Creative Feel caught up with her in Milan where she was preparing for the Rossini Opera Festival.

‘I’m rehearsing for my next debut, Ciro in Babilonia. How do I find the time? It’s amazing, because, in a day, there are only 24 hours [laughs]. And the beauty of life is that nothing actually happens in one day, and I’m grateful for that. It might look like a busy schedule but for me, it’s been what I needed. I have had some of the greatest experiences and opportunities, that have also challenged me to know how to take care of myself.’

Yende shares the meaning of her debut album titled A Journey. ‘It has been one of the most exciting journeys of my life. I mean, finding music or music finding me. And the leap of faith into a world that I never knew existed. A world that is created so much by the beauty and the colour of the human voice. It has been one of the most exciting experiences ever. I’m glad that I waited because it gave me the opportunity to highlight the journey from when it started. From the early days of winning the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition, to my success in Zurich as Elvira in I puritani.

A Journey for Pretty Yende
Pretty Yende. Photograph by Kim Fox.

Her recent success in Zurich as Elvira in Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, I puritani, was hailed by many reviewers. Often describing it as a ‘great, powerful and wonderful performance’ and that, ‘Pretty Yende simply was Elvira’. She, herself, is obviously rather pleased with this achievement. ‘It was one of the most pleasant surprises, as well, because it was a very particular role in the bel canto repertoire history and one of the most sensitive. And so, to have that stamp of approval from more than ten critics coming every night, all agreeing on one thing… It has been one of the most exciting things in my career and I’m grateful that it was not a wrong move. That it was the perfect move and at the right time as well.’

Yende is certainly overwhelmed by the support she has received throughout her career when told that Creative Feel is once more featuring her on the cover for this year’s RMB Starlight Classics. ‘I would like to give thanks to the people who have helped me. If I would start naming names, the list would be endless. It really is: from my parents, who gave birth to me and supported me; from my friends, that I grew up knowing, and colleagues that I found at the University of Cape Town. My teachers: Angelo Gobbato, Kamal Khan, Virginia Davids, and the entire family who sponsored me. Even when I was still in UCT and before I came to the Academy of La Scala. I would like to say a big thank you, for believing in what was still a seed and now we can see the fruits of this flower.’

‘I won’t ever forget that you [Creative Feel] were my first magazine cover. Together with Rand Merchant Bank, you were the first ones to make me a cover girl. I will never forget that special cover for my RMB Starlight Classics appearance, we all still get excited about it. I wanted a cover that was going to show me and my journey… with hope in my eyes and a smile on my face. Portraying the resilience that carried me through from the beginning until today. Through all of the hardships, the sacrifices and the times when I wanted to give up. One can but hope that I came through it all with grace, elegance and humility. Never forsaking my responsibility to the art.’

I would wish to be remembered more for my humanity and the power of my soul, which gave me power and determination to rise to the occasion every time, than for the glory of my career.

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