The Order of Ikhamanga in
Profile of Pretty Yende
Pretty Yende sings melodies that evoke ancient memories and transcends barriers of language. Yende, who was born in Thandukukhanya Township, Mpumalanga on 6 March 1985, dreamed of becoming a singer from a very young age. She relentlessly pursued her dreams and is now riding the crest of the opera wave.
Yende, whose exquisite performances have received standing ovations on the world’s most famous opera stages was voted one of South Africa’s most successful women, as well as South African Cosmopolitan’s Fun and Fearless Female.
She holds a performer’s diploma in opera, as well as a postgraduate qualification in opera cum laude, from the South African College of Music, which is part of the University of Cape Town. She also graduated from the Academia Teatro La Scala in Milan. Yende’s concert repertoire includes among others Mozart‘s Requiem, Missa Solemnis, Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Vivaldi’s Macnificat, Faure’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Mass in C and his 9th Symphony, as well as Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs.
In 2010, she won the first prize at the Vincenzo Bellini International Competition; and in 2011, Yende took the first prize as well as the Audience Favourite prizeat Operalia, the World Opera Competition.
She is the first recipient of the Khabi Mngoma Award from the Old Mutual and Telkom National Choir Festival, and the youngest recipient of the Golden Arc (Arca D’oro) from the jury of Italian critics.
In 2012, she sang the role of Musetta in Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera La bohème at La Scala in Milan.
Early this year, she made her American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York performing the main role of Countess Adele in Rossini’s Opera, Le Comte Ory. Yende earned great acclaim for this role by the New York Times, as she learnt the role in a week. She repeated the same role in Vienna a few days after her American success. Back in South Africa, she performed her debut Role of Lucia in Donizetti’s Lucia Di Lammermoor with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with Cape Town Opera.