Meet Pretty Yende: an opera singer From South Africa who is bringing greater diversity to classical music. At 32, this artist is the pride of South Africans, and is making classical music relevant for the 21st century
Yende grew up in South Africa, in the Thandukukhanya township, in a segregated society just before apartheid ended. At that time in South Africa, “black people were not allowed to study, let alone study opera”. She didn’t even know opera existed until one day at age 16, watching TV, she heard the sounds of an opera singer coming from her television. It was a TV commercial for British Airways that featured the Flower Duet from Lakmé.
Yende initially studied to be an accountant, but quickly switched to opera singer, and just kept going. Today, having found her vocation, she travels the biggest stages around the world to share her talent and her passion.
A soprano making classical music relevant for the 21st century
“She won first prize in operetta and opera at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition 2009 in Vienna, and in 2010 the first prize at the Vincenzo Bellini International Competition. In 2011, she won first prize at Operalia, The World Opera Competition, held that year in Moscow.”
Yende’s new album is called “Dreams,” a fitting title for an album by a world-class singer who has pursued her dreams with such dedication.