Johannesburg – South African born opera singer Pretty Yende took the time to reflect on the major success she has achieved in her career thus far, thanking fans for their support in a post on Facebook.
The singer flashed back to one of her earlier interviews in Milan, writing in part: “I look back with great joy for not giving up on my dream because most didn’t believe I was worth it… dreams come true… at a price worth it sometimes, but definitely as far as growth is concern, every ounce of hardship, tears, disappointments, discouragement, laughter, love, joy, LIFE… it is all worth it.”
Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore returns to the Met on January 16 for ten performances through to February 17, starring South African soprano Pretty Yende as wealthy landowner Adina, and American tenor Matthew Polenzani as Nemorino, the poor villager hopelessly in love with her. Italian bass Ildebrando D’Arcangelo sings the role of Dulcamara, the quack doctor who sells the ‘magic elixir of love’, and Italian baritone Davide Luciano plays the visiting sergeant, Belcore. Venezuelan maestro Domingo Hindoyan makes his company debut conducting Bartlett Sher’s 2012 staging. The February 10 matinee performance will be transmitted worldwide as part of the Met’s Live in HD series, now reaching more than 2,000 movie theaters in 73 countries around the world.
Pretty Yende adds a new role to her Met repertory as Adina, a role she has sung at La Scala and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Later this season, also at the Met, she will sing the title role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. She made a surprise company debut in 2013 when she stepped in at short notice to sing her first-ever performances of Countess Adèle in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory opposite Juan Diego Flórez. Since then she has sung Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Elvira Walton in Bellini’s I Puritani, and Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.
Matthew Polenzani previously sang Nemorino in Bartlett Sher’s production when it opened the Met’s 2012-13 season. He has sung over 350 performances with the company since his debut in 1997 as Boyar in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. Other Met credits include the title role of Mozart’s Idomeneo, Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the title character in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’ Hoffmann, the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto, and role debuts as Nadir in the Met new production premieres of Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles and in the title role of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux.
Ildebrando D’Arcangelo makes his company role debut as Dulcamara, a role he has previously sung at the Vienna State Opera and Baden-Baden Festival. He made his Met debut as Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, followed by singing Leporello in Don Giovanni, and the title role of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro.
Davide Luciano has previously sung the role of Belcore at Deutsche Oper Berlin where he is a member of the ensemble. His other credits include Donizetti roles such as Lord Cecil in Maria Stuarda and the Duke of Nottingham in Roberto Devereux at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro at Teatro Real in Madrid.
Maestro Domingo Hindoyan has previously led L’Elisir d’Amore, at the Berlin State Opera. He has conducted at several of the world’s leading opera houses including Dresden State Opera, Berlin State Opera, and Zurich Opera.
L’Elisir d’Amore Live in HD and Radio Broadcasts
The February 10 matinee performance of L’Elisir d’Amore will be transmitted live around the world at 12:00 p.m. ET hosted by Susanna Phillips. The transmission will be seen in more than 2,000 movie theaters in 73 countries around the world.
The January 16 performance of L’Elisir d’Amore will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 75, and the same performance will also be streamed live on the Met’s web site.
The February 10 matinee performance will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.
For more information on L’Elisir d’Amore, including casting by date, please click here.
Soprano Pretty Yende grew up in a small town 200 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa. After hearing the famous “Flower Duet” by Leo Delibes in a television commercial, Yende decided to become an opera singer. She took the world by storm, first appearing at the Metropolitan Opera in 2013, when she was 27.
Her newest album is called “Dreams.” It features arias and ensemble pieces by Donizetti and Bellini, plus selections by Gounod and Meyerbeer. In the press release, Yende states, “All the characters I sing here have a dream: for some it is positive, for others it is a kind of nightmare… I wanted to explore what dreams and madness mean for each character.”
Some of the pieces are very famous, like the mad scene from Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” and the aria “Je veux vivre” from Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette.” Others are lesser known, like several selections from “La straniera,” an opera by Bellini.
Yende will star in two performances at the Metropolitan Opera this season. Beginning in January, she will play Adina in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore,” and then in April she will play the title role in Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.” She is also scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall in June.
Pretty Yende is all smiles when we meet up in Johannesburg. Despite a demanding career and extremely busy schedule, she is warm, attentive and energetic. Her career so far has been nothing short of amazing. From singing in a choir as a child, to performing in the finest opera houses around the world, she knows a thing or two about building a career in one of the most difficult genres of music. She shared her incredible story with us in the November edition of Marie Claire, but she also shared these five things, that you need to know!
1. She’s an opera singer because of a TV ad
That’s right, the young opera star heard the Flower Duet in a British Airways commercial. She tells us that it was one of the most important and powerful moments of her life.
2. She loves seeing the audience while singing
Pretty tells us that in the past, she’s asked that the lights aren’t so dim while performing. She loves seeing the faces of the people she’s singing for, and adds a creates an intimate relationship for the few hours she is on stage.
3. She has a sweet tooth
Anything with chocolate in it, and she’s sold, Pretty told us. She also loves sweet potato fries, and apparently her mom is the best at making them.
4. She knows how to stay low-key
She tells us that coming back to South Africa after working overseas the majority of the year, is one of the biggest treats for her; she adds that this happens very seldom though. Thats why, when she’s in South Africa, she usually hides away from media and avoids work-related stuff, and rather spends quality time with her family.
5. She has a secret to her beautiful voice
Pretty shares with us that it’s not all about drinking tea and honey and not talking too loudly. She shatters all those stereotypical ideas and tells us that its quite simple actually. She tells us that when you’re happy on the inside, it shows in your voice. This is why she focuses on her mental wellbeing before anything else.
Bonus: She has been on some huge US talk shows
She’s been on the Wendy Williams show, a must see below! But she’s also appeared on various shows including Tavis Smiley, and Stephen Colbert.