Pretty is pure inspiration
Pretty Yende has firmly established herself in the international opera milieu and is one of many South African singers who are enjoying a glittering international opera career.
This 32-year-old from Mkhondo (Piet Retief) in Mpumalanga recently addressed vocal and music students at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) School of Music on the campus in Potchefstroom.
“It was a wonderful opportunity and great privilege to be able to receive Pretty at the School of Music,” says Antoinette Oliver, lecturer in singing. “Her life story is absolutely inspiring and shows each of us to see what can be achieved by hard work, perseverance and self-confidence.”
Pretty already had the opera world taking notice in a short period of three years (2009, 2010 and 2011), when she won the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna, the Vincenzo Bellini International Competition and the World Opera Competition, Operalia, in Moscow respectively.
After this her career took off. First she sang the role of Musetta in Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera La Bohème in Milan, after which the role of Adèle in Gioachino Rossini’s Le comte Ory in New York followed. She was Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Rosina in The Barber of Seville and Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor.
It is not only her fellow countrymen who follow Pretty’s rise, and it is definitely not only within our borders where she makes the headlines. As recently as 4 September the New York Times ran a profile about her, titled “Pretty Yende Unmasks a Promising Opera Career”. She also has two albums to her name, namely A Journey and Dreams.
Pretty is currently preparing for the role of Marie in Donizetti’s opera La fille du regiment, which she will perform on stage later this year in Seville, Spain. She practised with maestro Kamal Khan in Potchefstroom, with the latter presenting master’s classes for students at the School of Music. Kamal is an internationally recognised pianist, instructor and conductor.
The opera star Pretty Yende recently visited the NWU. Here are from left Dr Conroy Cupido, Jana Mathee, Pretty Yende, Kamal Khan, Antoinette Olivier and Dr Santisa Viljoen.