DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Pretty Yende: A Journey (Sony Classical)

By Norman Lebrecht on September 30, 2016

Pretty Yende | A Journey (Sony Classical)
Pretty Yende | A Journey (Sony Classical)

Pretty Yende: A Journey (Sony Classical)

★★★★ (out of five)

The classical music industry does not so much promote talent as postpone it. Faced with a gleaming young star, the male curators of fame (all men) then seek validation in endless meetings. Agents and record producers hedge and haver. They deliberate and dine out, they call another meeting, and another. Then they write a budget. No wonder the business is in such bother.

It is now seven years since the South African soprano Pretty Yende burst on our ears as winner of the 2009 Hans Gabor competition in Vienna. It is five years since she won every single trophy in Domingo’s Operalia, four years since she conquered La Scala as Mimi in Boheme, almost as long since her Met debut. And in all that time she has never cut a debut record.

That omission has now been repaired, but not in any hurry. The sessions took place a year ago, in Turin at the end of August 2015. The album contains seven arias of Italian bel canto and two of French grand opera. One of these, the Flower Duet from Delibes’ Lakme, used in a British Airways television ad, first alerted the teenaged Pretty to the possibility that she might sing opera.

And, man, can she sing. Hearing her as pure audio, away from the opera and recital stage, one is struck simultaneously by the richness of character and the variety of colours she can wield. Una voce poco fa, from Barber of Seville, is full of fun, hope and hankering. The Lakme flower song, a million miles away from Parisian pomp, is organic and affecting. A gloom and doom aria from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor does not show Pretty to best effect, but the mad scene from Bellini’s I Puritani is just perfect — poised for takeoff. At barely an hour this album is short measure, but this is a voice that must be heard. Not a minute to lose.

Pretty Yende: A Journey (Sony Classical) is available for at Amazon.com and iTunes.

#LUDWIGVAN

Want more updates on Toronto-centric classical music news and review before anyone else finds out? Get our exclusive newsletter here and follow us on Facebook for all the latest.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

SCRUTINY | ‘Is My Microphone On?’ Shines With Passion And Commitment

By Paula Citron on September 8, 2021

'Canadian Stage/Is My Microphone On? A play in the form of a protest song' is fueled by Gen-Z passion.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

SCRUTINY | Shaw Festival’s ‘Flush’ A Brilliant Character Study

By Paula Citron on September 4, 2021

Flush will become almost a human person before the end of the play, and you will accept his adventures as absolute reality.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Nikolai Kapustin: Writing Against His Own Times

By Norman Lebrecht on August 27, 2021

Listening to Nikolai Kapustin in 2021 is an act of nostalgia, a gesture of defiance to the dictates of fashion.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.