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Ina moment now

La Cieca hears that soprano Pretty Yende, a standout Met debutante last season in Le Comte Ory, has signed with the company for for four roles over the next three years: Pamina and Lucia in 2014-2015, Adina in 2015-2016 and Rosina in 2016-2017.

93 comments

  • Harold says:

    Despite what Gualtier M say, I was hardly hating on Pretty Yende. I wish her well and hope that she will fulfill her potential. But she has not yet sung Pamina, nor Adina, nor Lucia. She seems unfinished to me and I don’t know why the Met is letting her try out leading, prima donna roles there before she is ready. There are other sopranos (Sonya Yoncheva & Albina Shagimuratova among them) who have already sung these roles to great success in major houses (Paris, La Scala) but Pretty Yende is being given a big push. And my question is “Why?”.

    • FomalHaut says:

      Well, without sounding crass, she is unique. She is South African, trained in Italy, and has a distinct voice. It doesn’t hurt that she is young, beautiful, and charismatic. This will sell tickets more than some random European Soprano.

    • Tenorfach says:

      Sorry but Pretty Yende sang two concert performances of “Luca” in Cape Town earlier this year.

      Tenorfach

      • tiger1dk says:

        I saw one of them and find her very good as Lucia -- although I think I agree that her voice (based, mind you, on only one hearing) would seem more suited to the lyric parts like Adina than the “true” coloratura as Lucia, rightly or wrongly, is considered.

        • Tenorfach says:

          Agree -- a little early to sing “Lucia” but hopefully she will be patient and develop her voice proberly.

          Still great concert(s) in Cape Town with some very good singers and a complete legend on the podium.

          Tenorfach

      • Harold says:

        Thanks for the correction, Tenorfach. Still, is that that qualification is sing one of the most famous parts at the Met? Again, I am no bashing Pretty Yende. I am asking what qualifies her more than a lot of other sopranos in these particular roles. My guess is that a record company is involved and that it is a PR stunt because, IMO, neither her level of singing nor her still nascent resume qualifies her yet for those roles in that house.

        • Tenorfach says:

          Oh completely agree that there is a huge PR machine behind her and there is most certainly someone in the background pulling a lot of strings.

          She is good yes, with loads of potential, but few singers are that special before they turn 30 to warrant such attention. So we shall see ………….. these things usually come to light at one point or another.

          Any by the way, I never took your posts as “bashing” her, I knew where you were coming from and agree.

          Tenorfach

  • Sanford says:

    I would like to add a vote for Erika Miklosa, who’s only role at the Met has been Queen of the Night. Her youtube clips are quite lovely and her coloratura is spot on.

    • PushedUpMezzo says:

      Seconded

      She could still offer a spine-tingling Gilda in an otherwise mediocre Rigoletto in Budapest 2 years ago. And I wasn’t in a forgiving mood that day having travelled from Vienna for a Fidelio which was cancelled and replaced by Rigoletto with no real explanation offered.

      • doktorlehar says:

        I heard Miklosa sing in a Haydn oratorio a few years back (Il ritorno di Tobia, a glorious and grossly under-appreciated piece) and she was superb from beginning to end. Accurate coloratura, great upper register and a distinctly spicy tone.

        • Bill says:

          Miklosa was fantastic in Hunyadi Laszlo (of Erkel) in Budapest last season -- the role
          is a bit heavier than a simple coloratura
          role but requires great agility. She was
          also one of the best Fiakermilli’s (Arabella)
          I have ever seen -- Unfortunately, other in
          Budapest, she seems to be booked almost solely as the Queen of the Night abroad. But in that
          role she is extremely accurate and on pitch
          with attractive tone -- so no wonder.

    • Camille says:

      I have wondered why Ms. Miklosa has not been seen other than as Könegin der Nacht, at the Met, for I was rather impressed by her performance of same, and am always on the lookout for her, mah! Invano.

      Lillian Nordica made a very famous recording of that aria from Hunyadi Laszlo and it is a rather meaty bone to chew upon. Ms. Miklosa must have substantially more to her voice than just a couple or three or more Fa acuti!

      • Bill says:

        Miklosa has a voice of some size and power
        (at least in Budapest, an opera house
        with very fine acoustics). She is a
        Kammersaengerin there -- I was at an opera house
        party where the opera director announced that the honor was being bestowed upon her. Some were surprised as she sings regularly in Budapest but not that many performances each season. But I can attest to her
        ability -- she is quite commanding on the stage
        (hard to judge from her Queens of the Night as the role normally does not require much stage movement in most producions). She is very
        popular in Budapest -actually at the new production of Hunyadi Laszlo last year in Budapest she was only in the second cast. All four of the sopranos (there are two major soprano roles in Hunyadi Laszlo) were excellent and Erkel, like Verdi, did not make things easy for his sopranos. In all the soprano roles in the Erkel operas I have seen there is some coloratura at least, but one must be able to sing above the
        entire ensemble and chorus in the climaxes -
        the sorts of roles which a Scotto, had she sung them, might have been effective before she took on her heaviest roles. All of Erkel’s operas have Hungarian historical themes and large choruses. I have seen only 3 of them (Bank Ban more than 12 times) but the Cluj Hungarian Opera House has done at least 8 of Erkel’s operas -- he also wrote the Hungarian National Anthem which is one of the most beautiful national anthems I have encountered -- rising to a glorious climax and then quietly fading away -- very melancholic.

  • MontyNostry says:

    Pretty sang a recital at Wigmore Hall in London earlier this year. Parts of the voice were really spot-on (especially around the top of the stave), but the musical personality seemed unformed (as did her stage presence, though she is, indeed, very pretty and has natural charisma) and I have never seen a supposedly world-class soprano look more dangerous when singing acuti. Her throat swelled up into a kind of cartoon goitre and her face grew congested. It was really quite worrying. My personal judgement is out on her.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

    Ms Yende had better keep working with the great Devia and get her pretty voice out of her throat.

    • Loge says:

      Oh God! Boky sang a lot on the Met tour. Even at 11 years old I knew that I was hearing a dreadful Lucia. Off pitch and shrill. And acted like a bad operetta coquette. She also did a horrible Sophie (and got booed even in Atlanta). I believe she also did Queen of the Night and Gilda but I’d have to check. Remember in those days Atlanta got only 7 opera performances a year during one week in May.

  • OpinionatedNeophyte says:

    Yende and Brownlee L’Elisir…would the Met dare?

    • meowiaclawas says:

      Why not? Sounds like a wonderful evening of beautiful singing with two young and charismatic singers.

      • Harold says:

        Young??? Lawrence Brownlee was born in 1972, the same year as Rolando Villazon. Anna Netrebko was born in 1971 (41), Juan Diego Florez in 1973 (40), Joseph Calleja in 1978 (35), Ildar Abdrazakov in 1976 (36).

        At what age do we stop referring to people as “young” singers?

        • oedipe says:

          You forgot to put on your list the eternally “up and coming” Beczala.

          • la vociaccia says:

            In one of the filmed specials on the Lepage ring, someone refers to JHMorris as “a young, well, young by Wagner standards tenor”

        • antikitschychick says:

          well, for me it has a lot to do with the state of the voice rather than physical appearance. Lawrence B. might not be “young” by conventional/ societal standards but the voice still sounds fresh and virile does it not? For me that can signify youth just as much as a six-pack and a full set of grayless hair :-D

      • Sempre liberal says:

        Agree -- would be a great evening.

    • antikitschychick says:

      They damn well should! I mean, when was the last time they cast a singer for the role of Adina in a major production who was *vocally* suited for the part??

      I like Pretty. What I heard in the above clip sounds pleasant to me….and she can SANG those high notes :-D Yes, she still has a bit of developing to do but hers is a pleasant, opulent and flexible voice/sound which is ideal for Rossini…idk about the acting as I didn’t witness the Ory performances but then again I’m kinda over this role being a sort of vehicle for the somewhat older & more sluggish voiced-divas to show off their ‘comedic chops.’ I want to hear an Adina who can sing the role with virtuosity and pizzaz… me thinks this is the gurl for the job. :-D .

      Now, if only Cieca would get word of a certain spinto soprano’s future Met rep I’ll like, die of flailing & fangurling :-P .

    • havfruen says:

      Yende and Brownlee in Armida at the Rossini Opera Festival in 2014?? Anyone?

      • FomalHaut says:

        I don’t think she would even consider singing Armida so young, LOL. I would most definitely pay to see a Rosina or Adina, or even a Beatrice di Tenda.

    • Loge says:

      Mr. Brownlee thoroughly enjoyed singing Comte d’Ory with her in Vienna.

    • laddie says:

      They did sing together in Europe. Larry posted profusely how wonderful it was for him to sing with a young, African soprano. I believe it was Ory they sang probably in Vienna where they seem to adore him.

  • Camille says:

    Pretty is pretty, e basta!

    Give the girl a chance, for crying out loud.
    Take a look at the score of Le Comte Ory sometime and realise what this intelligent young lady was able to get into her brains and voice in a month or so.

    Of course, there is always Erdmann or that Kovalevska creature, if one prefers….

  • MarioCav says:

    I for one am very glad they signed for some future performances. I thoroughly enjoyed her in the Comte Ory at the Met. She was very charismatic on stage, and I thought her voice was lovely and unique.
    Had the Met not signed her when they did, she would have certainly been signed by other opera companies as well. For once, the Met did something right and secured her while they could.
    Yes, she is young and sort of a work in progress,
    but I think she will develop into a major artist.
    She has a type of “star quality” not seen in too many sopranos these days.
    Just my opinion…..

    MarioCav