Open main menu

Pretty Yende, OIS (born 6 March 1985) is a South African operatic soprano.[1] She has performed leading roles at opera houses internationally, including La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera.

Pretty Yende
Yende at a concert performance of Lucia di Lammermoor in Cape Town in April 2013
Born (1985-03-06) 6 March 1985 (age 34)
Alma mater
OccupationOpera singer (soprano)
Years active2009–present


Early life and educationEdit

Born in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga,[2] Yende was inspired to learn opera at age 16 after seeing a British Airways TV advertisement that featured the Flower Duet from Lakmé.[3] She subsequently enrolled at the South African College of Music, where her teachers included Virginia Davids, and from which she graduated cum laude. She also graduated from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy. Her younger sister, Nombulelo Yende, is also an opera singer.[4]

Yende won first prize in operetta and opera at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition 2009 in Vienna,[5] and in 2010 the first prize at the Vincenzo Bellini International Competition[6] and the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition.[7] In 2011, she won first prize at Operalia, The World Opera Competition, held that year in Moscow.[8]


In 2012, she sang the role of Musetta in Puccini's opera La bohème at La Scala in Milan.[9] Yende made her Metropolitan Opera debut in New York City on 17 January 2013, in the role of Adèle in Rossini's opera Le comte Ory, as a substitute for Nino Machaidze.[10][2] In 2015 she portrayed Susanna in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the Los Angeles Opera.[11] In 2016 she portrayed Rosina in The Barber of Seville and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Paris Opera.[12]

Yende is credited for her vocals in Andrea Bocelli's Concerto: One Night in Central Park (2011), and as a primary artist for the "Ode À L'Humanité" (Ode to Humanity, previously called Aria) track on the Yanni/Plácido Domingo collaboration Inspirato (2014).[13]

In 2018, she debuted as Adina in Bartlett Sher's production of L'elisir d'amore opposite Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino at the Metropolitan Opera, which ran through January and February.[14]

Awards and honoursEdit

Yende won an Arca d'Oro Italia Young Talents Award in 2012,[15] and subsequently performed a recital in Turin next year on 30 March owing to the award.[16]

She was conferred the Silver Order of Ikhamanga on 27 April 2013. In a statement by the chairperson of the National Orders Advisory Council, Dr. Cassius Lubisi, Yende was conferred the honour "for her excellent achievement and international acclaim in the field of world opera and serving as a role model to aspiring young musicians."[17][18]

In September 2013 she received an Mbokodo Award in the category of opera.[19]

Yende won the Best Recording Solo Recital Award for her album A Journey in the 2017 International Opera Awards[20] and was awarded the International Achiever Award in the 2017 South African Music Awards.[21] She won a Readers' Award in the 2018 International Opera Awards.[22]


Yende signed a long-term recording contract with Sony Classical in October 2015.[23] Her first recording under this Sony contract was "A Journey".[24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Staff (1 February 2013). "Pretty Good Met Debut for Yende". Centre for Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b Neophytou, Nadia (3 February 2013). "SA Soprano Pretty Yende takes NY by Storm". Eyewitness News (South Africa). Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  3. ^ Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (1 February 2013). "Little Time to Prepare; Now a Legacy to Keep". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Nombulelo Yende gives opera concert in Sandton". 16 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Winners Opera & Special Prizes". Belvedere Competition.
  6. ^ "Concours Bellini - Promotion 2010". Concours International de Belcanto Vincenzo Bellini (in French). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  7. ^ "6th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition". Leyle Gencer Voice Competition.
  8. ^ "List of Winners". Operalia Competition.
  9. ^ La Scala Database (undated). "La bohème – Giacomo Puccini – Teatro alla Scala Production – From 26 September to 26 October 2012". La Scala. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  10. ^ Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim (18 January 2013). "Wily Suitors and the Challenges of Chastity". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Pretty Yende: An Opera Star Whose Rise Began With A Fall". NPR News. 20 March 2015.
  12. ^ Tom Huizenga (8 September 2016). "Review: Pretty Yende, 'A Journey'". NPR News.
  13. ^ "Pretty Yende / Credits". Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  14. ^ Oestreich, James R. (17 January 2018). "Review: A Donizetti Revival at the Met Hints at More to Come". The New York Times. Hampton, Wilborn (17 January 2018). "Met Opera: Yende and Polenzani Brew a Strong Love Potion in Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore"". HuffPost.
  15. ^ Franchi, Susanna (31 October 2012). "L'Arca d'oro a Chailly". Il Giornale della Musica (in Italian).
  16. ^ Crema, Gabriella (30 March 2013). "Sven Väth "Re della Savana" allo Chalet; Pretty Yende alla scuola d'Applicazione". la Repubblica (in Italian).
  17. ^ "National Orders to be bestowed on deserving recipients". South African Government News Agency. 22 April 2013.
  18. ^ "SA: Statement by Cassius Lubisi, Chancellor of the National Orders..." (Press release). National Orders Advisory Council. 22 April 2013 – via
  19. ^ "Mbokodo Awards winners announced". 2 September 2013.
  20. ^ Salazar, Francisco (7 May 2017). "Opera Awards 2017 Winners: Lawrence Brownlee and Anna Netrebko Win Top Awards". OperaWire.
  21. ^ "Pretty Yende And Rebecca Malope To Receive Top Honours". Marie Claire. 19 May 2017.
  22. ^ Jackson, Claire (10 April 2018). "International Opera Awards reveals winners". Rhinegold Publishing.
  23. ^ Mazzaro, Maria (January 2016). "Noteworthy & Now". Opera News. 80 (7). Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  24. ^ Erica Jeal (29 September 2016). "Pretty Yende: A Journey CD review – fearless singing by new-wave South African". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2016.

External linksEdit