Sunday, February 3, 2013

New York Times on Pretty Yende: 'Little Time to Prepare; Now a Legacy to Keep'

Pretty Yende (Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

Sergio Mims writes:

In yesterday's Saturday New York Times there was an article/interview with South African soprano Pretty Yende:

New York Times
On a recent cold and rainy afternoon, Pretty Yende sat on a couch in the press room of the Metropolitan Opera House, retracing the path that took her from a childhood in South Africa to her acclaimed Met debut last month. On Jan. 17 she received a raucous standing ovation from the audience after singing Adèle in Rossini’s “Comte Ory” opposite the star tenor Juan Diego Flórez. Now, dressed in leggings and boots and wearing rimless, flexible glasses that resisted her frequent attempts to fix them in place, Ms. Yende, a 27-year-old soprano, looked more like a graduate student than like a diva.

In the interview, this self-described “church girl” from Piet Retief, a timber- and paper-producing town near the border with Swaziland, was poised and quick to laugh, modest but quietly confident. She sings Adèle two more times at the Met, on Saturday and Tuesday. Since Ms. Yende’s debut, her phone has been ringing with offers from agents. So far, she said, she has turned them all down.

“This is my year to study,” she said. “It’s a Verdi and Wagner season, and I don’t have so much Verdi or Wagner.” Then she added, with a giggle, “ Yet.” She is studying the title role of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” with the venerable bel canto singer Mariella Devia; Ms. Yende plans to move to Paris and learn to speak French.

“Prima la salute, poi la musica,” she said in accent-free Italian, which she learned over the past three years while studying at La Scala’s Academy of Lyric Opera in Milan: “Health first, music second.”        

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