Pretty Yende’s debut solo album titled “A Journey” is now available for purchase from Amazon and iTunes – it can also be enjoyed via Spotify. Ms. Yende sings arias from Lakmé, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Lucia di Lammermoor, and more on the CD, which has already been lauded with rave reviews from critics:
“The album opens with “Una voce poco fa” from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, an opera that served as Yende’s Paris Opéra debut earlier this year. It’s a smart leadoff performance, introducing the voice’s many assets: creamy warmth, a focused vibrato, shimmering and easily placed top notes. She tosses off the aria’s pyrotechnical flourishes with élan while revealing the spunky character of Rosina.
The aforementioned Lakmé “Flower Duet,” with a winsome-voiced Kate Aldrich, is an obvious choice, as is the Bellini aria that follows. “Ma la sola, ohimè,” from Beatrice di Tenda, helped Yende earn three prizes at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in 2011. Here, Yende spins a silky bel canto line, carefully adding tinges of sadness to music that sometimes sounds brighter than the solemn text.
The year before, in 2010, Yende was the first to sweep all top prizes at Vienna’s Belvedere Singing Competition. Her secret weapon was an aria from Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet. As the titular, panic-stricken heroine, Yende radiates charisma from the opening line, “Dieu, quell frisson court dans mes veines!” (God, what a shudder runs through my veins!) Moments of self-doubt, courage and fear flash by as the darker shades of Yende’s voice push through Gounod’s trills …
The album closes with the luxuriously appointed mad scene from Bellini’s I puritani. With its dramatic freakouts and high-flying fioriture, it’s something of a Mount Everest for any courageous coloratura. Although Yende hasn’t lived in the lead role long (she debuted it this year in Zurich), she makes Elvira’s mania believable, crowning the hysteria with a secure high E-flat.” (Tom Huizenga, NPR Classical)
“ So what’s so special about Pretty Yende? Her voice is hugely flexible and here used without strain in even the most demanding passages. She displays not only a top-class vocal and dramatic technique but also a high-wire artist’s courage and confidence. It’s the sheer brilliance of her attack that leaves audiences around the world clamouring for more.” (David Mellor, The Daily Mail)