Cher Public

Pretty perfect

“In a winter rich with splashy debuts, Friday’s performance of Le Comte Ory introduced a 27-year-old South African charmer who may well be the Met’s next big star. She’s Pretty Yende, and that first name fits her to a tee, what with her willowy figure, megawatt smile and—most of all—ravishing light soprano.” [New York Post]

  • bassoprofundo

    “pretty in pink,” that’s a nice touch.

    in other news, Nathan Gunn is a joke.

    • operapun

      The mighty baritone-A tenor without high notes or a bass without low notes?

  • Nerva Nelli

    “In a winter rich with splashy debuts, Friday’s performance of “Le Comte Ory” introduced a 27-year-old South African charmer who may well be the Met’s next big star.”

    Surely in historical terms this will be remembered as “The Season of David Soar”…

  • perfidia

    From the very limited experience of hearing her on youtube (there is a snippet of her debut among other things) she sounds like a real find. The voice seems rich, and the performance came across with a sense of spontaneity that I hope was matched by her physical acting. Also sounds like a voice that could grow very nicely into the more lyrical parts like Juliette, Antonia, Lauretta, Manon or Pamina. She is pretty young, and it will be nice to see how she is going to develop within the next 5-10 years.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Plus I always find it especially satisfying when someone has success who comes from a country which is not traditionally associated with opera. I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to get started and even to come to the conclusion that she wants to become an opera singer. The hurdles are so much bigger than if you come from America or a country in Europe.

    • Francois

      No, it isn’t traditionally associated with opera. But it still produced Mimi Coertse, Emma Renzi, Marita Napier, Carla Pohl, Wickus Slabbert, Johan Botha, Michelle Breedt, Amanda Echalaz, Elza van den Heever, and Deon van der Walt.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        And Colin Lee!

        • MontyNostry

          And spinto Joyce Barker … and now — young singers on the international scene — Jacques Imbrailo, Pumeza Matshikiza (a very beautiful voice, compared by John Steane to Rosa Ponselle!), Vuyani Mlinde, Njabulo Madlala and (at AVA) Musa Ngqungwana.

          • MontyNostry

            Oh yes, and another good baritone, Dawid Kimberg, who was on the young artists’ programme at Covent Garden.

          • Krunoslav

            I heard Musa Ngqungwana sing a good Zaretsky in EUGENE ONEGIN at AVA the other day; he is alternating that with Gremin, in which I bet he’ll be very good indeed.

          • MontyNostry

            Ngqungwana has a very impressive voice (still a little rough round the edges when I heard him) and presence. It will be interesting to see how he develops.

          • Francois

            Haha -- I wanted to post something by Jyce Barker her and got distracted. I agree about Pumeza -- met her once -- gorgeous voice and personality. httv://

          • Camille

            Indeed, a very beautiful voice!

            So impressed was I that this had to be posted, from a promotion for a new production of Zaïde, an interesting work:

            If she would sing with a bit more of a horizontal line in ascending phrases it would be well nigh perfection. Looking forward to hearing more from this gracious and lovely creature. Zaïde is an lovely work, well worth hearing. May she know a great success.

          • manou

            “horizontal lines in ascending phrases” are geometrically very hard to achieve.

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            Horizontal lines in ascending phrases makes sense to me -- she needs a whole lot more consistency in the breath.

            Haven’t heard Matshikiza in a couple of years probably, but she always struck me as very splurgey in terms of technique -- a good voice slightly obfuscated by a lot of manufactured resonance, and very uneven.

        • Krunoslav

          Plus Frederick and Evelyn Dalberg, Kobie van Rensbourg, Christopher Ainslie, Lawrence Folley, Elizabeth Connell, Christian de Plessis, Jacques Imbrailo, Sally Silver, Wendy Fine, Elza van den Heever…

          However, it might be noted (might it not?) that unlike Pretty Yende all of these South African singers were/are of Caucasian descent. Even with political changes in South Africa, she has perforce had a different kind of journey to the operatic stage. There are other “African” South African singers out there working, but Ms. Yende has achieved the most renown thus far.

          • Hippolyte

            Fikile Mvinjelwa sang Nelusko in Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine with Opera Orchestra and has been on the MET roster for several years (as a cover artist, no doubt) and Vuyani Mlinde sang Raphael in Haydn’s The Creation with John Eliot Gardiner and his Orchestra Revolutionnaire et Romantique at Carnegie Hall in late 2009 and is on the new Opera Rara recording of Rossini’s Aureliano in Palmira.

          • Grimgerde2

            Frederick Dalberg was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, then moved to South Africa as a 12 year old. Don’t get The Vicar going!

          • Krunoslav

            Well, in re Papa Dalberg, that gets into the question of, were Fremstad and Varnay “Swedish” singers or “American” singers. Were Callas and Pagliughi “American” singers or, respectively, Greek and Italian?

            The Vicar would doubtless claim George London as a “Canadian” (“Commonwealth”!) singer though he was born to US nationals briefly resident in Canada, and then grew up in Southern California…

          • Grimgerde2

            Krunoslav -- I have to agree with your point. I can recall no less than Dame Gywneth, when described as a British soprano, glowered at a poor interviewer and said “I’m Welsh!”. We could also cite Norman Bailey; his accent, even when singing in English, was painfully tinged with a strong South African accent.

          • armerjacquino

            Grim: was that really Dame G’s reaction to being called ‘British’? Sounds more like the reaction a Welsh person would have to being called ‘English’.

          • Gualtier M

            Baritone Luthando Qave who is in the Lindemann program is another South African opera singer who is not caucasian.

          • Quanto Painy Fakor

            Takes a village

            Yandiswa Makade-Mayeke

            Visit to Isreal

          • Cocky Kurwenal

            My thoughts exactly, ArmjerJ -- if Dame Gwyneth wants to be all Welsh nationalist about it, then fair enough, but it isn’t wrong to call her British (like calling her English would be).

      • Buster

        Let’s not forget the talented Jacques Snyman.

        • Buster

          Or Rina Hugo:

          • kennedet

            Seriously???!!! Take off your clothes, sing falsetto and call yourself a classical singer??Well, I don’t know where Mr. Snyman is going with this gimmick (actually I don’t care) but I’m sure it will make good media fodder. Also, it shows you can put anything on YOU TUBE.

  • m. p. arazza

    “Friday’s performance of Le Comte Ory…”

    Wasn’t it Thursday?

    • m. p. arazza

      In South Africa it was Friday

  • Buster

    Very happy she did well. Lovely singer, and person. Magnificent voice.

  • bassoprofundo

    WTF. She sang with Bocelli?


  • jrance

    “In a winter rich with splashy debuts…”

    Depends on your idea of splashy I suppose.