Celebrity

Pretty Yende scoops big international award

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Pretty Yende’s star is in the ascent. After training at La Scala, Milan, she made her debut with Metropolitan Opera, New York, aged 27, stepping in at less than a month’s notice to sing in Le Comte Ory opposite Juan Diego Flórez. That was back in 2013, and since then she’s sung for opera houses around the world, making her Royal Opera debut in summer 2017 in L’elisir d’amore. A few weeks earlier her debut solo album A Journeywon the International Opera Award for Solo Recital Recording.

Now the acclaimed South African opera singer  has added to her international fame with yet another prestigious award, walking away with an Echo Klassik gong in Germany.

Pretty walked away with the Newcomer of the Year prize last week ahead of a glitzy handover ceremony to be held in October at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.

Echo Klassik is one of the most renowned classical music awards in the world, with some of the biggest names in the genre being honoured each year at a swanky gala event.

Pretty described the win as “a dream come true” and told her social media fans that she was honoured to have her debut album, A Journey, rated so highly by one of the global authorities on classical music.

“This is truly a dream come true for me, I am beyond honoured to receive the Newcomer of the Year Award from Echo Klassik. I am thrilled that my debut album has afforded me the thrilling luxury to be recognized by Echo Klassik,” she said.

The award comes two months after Pretty was honoured with a 2017 International Opera Award for Best Recording – Solo Recital for the same album.

Yende’s discovery of opera is well-documented: aged 16, she heard Delibes’ Flower Duet from Lakmé on a British Airways television advert, and was immediately captivated. But of course her musical life predates that exposure, as she explains in an interview at the Royal Opera House:

‘Music for me was really planted way, way back. I remember days with my grandmother when she would teach me songs – you know, church hymns – and that’s where I started to sing. At home there was always music in the house, so the ear was accustomed to hearing sounds and melodies. And then of course to be introduced to opera in 2001 was a revelation.’

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