Opera singer Pretty Yende says new album highlights her young career

Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:38pm EDT
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By Alicia Powell

(Reuters) - Born into a musical family in South Africa, operatic soprano Pretty Yende grew up singing gospel music in church.

In 2001, at the age of 16 in her hometown of Piet Retief, Mpumalanga, she heard the Flower Duet from Léo Delibes' opera "Lakmé" in a television commercial. That opened up a whole new world for her.

    "When I hear the music, the beauty and the joy that I felt in those 10 seconds, I knew I could do that because it's human," Yende, 31, said in an interview. "When I was told it was humanly possible, I said, well, 'teach me.'"

    After seven years of performing live around the world, Yende released her debut album titled, "A Journey," on Sept. 16, which highlights some of the best moments of her career.

    "From a child who grew up in a small town to such a big world, I knew it was important for me to be well informed so that I can enjoy the journey as well," said Yende, who recorded the album in an Italian auditorium where she performs regularly in order to feel more comfortable.

Yende said most of the songs are technically demanding, with the aria "Respiro io qui" from "Beatrice di Tenda," composed by Vincenzo Bellini, being the most challenging.

Perfection has never been her goal, she pointed out.

    "This is just a gift, it is just a gift. It's not to show that I'm the best of the best. That does not exist," Yende said.   Continued...