Photos from the Diemersfontein Wines 10th Anniversary celebrations 2010.

Pretty Yende was the winner of the 2011 Operalia Competition. She competed in Moscow under the baton of Maestro Placido Domingo, who is patron of the competition. Miss Yende won First Prize (Best Females Singer), joint First Prize in the Zarzuela Category, and the Audience Favourite Prize.

“Pretty Yende and Friends – a Gala Opera Evening” in the Cape Town City Hall – 11 August 2010 – was followed by a prestige celebration dinner and concert at the Diemersfontein Wine Estate on 13 August 2010. The concerts not only celebrated miss Yende’s recent international successes as well as Diemersfontein’s first decade of successful wine making. The concert represented much more than that. Young artists such as presented in this concert, and not only miss Yende, are the success stories of South Africa. It was a huge amount of work to prepare the concert. But it was also a tribute to the long hours of slog by the stalwarts of opera such as Prof. Virginia Davids and Prof. Angelo Gobbato of the UCT Opera School. The work of many other singing teachers and coaches was represented on that stage, supported by a host of named and unnamed supporters, benefactors and projectors of love and good will. We all have our eye on these artists and watch their careers with pride, anticipation and love.

When I saw the YouTube clip of the tumultuous ovation Pretty Yende received for her debut at La Scala, I just cried with happiness, love and pride. I have such respect for the young artists who keep working and fighting to overcome the many obstacles in their way, often from inside the music industry players themselves, who should feel mandated to support their own. The concert pointed to the wealth of talent in South Africa. And it pointed out the flaws in the fantasy of the “Talented African Singers” who just have natural ability. These artists WORK. They study and take lessons and have coaching. This all takes money. And with all the talent in the world, without the finances to make it happen, it can remain untapped.

Watch Pretty Yende – accompanied by the Cape Philharmonic orhestra conducted by Chris Dowdeswell – sing the Song to the Moon from the opera Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak:

Thank you to Sue and David Sonnenberg for their passion and the vision of this event. Their ongoing support to young artists has opened doors which might have remained shut. There’s a saying in Israel: Im tirtzu ein so agada If you will it, it is no dream. And we will this. And these dreams are coming true.

Read a full review of the Gala Concert by Deon Irish, published in the Cape Town Argus HERE.

Pretty Yende & David Sonnenberg

Luthando Qave & Albert Combrink

Susan Sonnenberg, whose passion for opera and admiration for Pretty Yende created the entire vision for this week-long celebration

Given Nkosi, Pretty Yende & July Zuma

Albert Combrink

July Zuma, shortly before his return to his opera studies in Barcelona.

Mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Frandsen

Albert Combrink (Piano) & Given Nkosi (Tenor): Cape Town City Hall

Pianist Albert Combrink & Soprano Pretty Yende - Cape Town City Hall

Cellist Sarah Acres & Pianist Albert Combrink: Cape Town City Hall

Diemersfontein Wines 10th Anniversary Concert and Dinner: Given Nkosi (tenor), Luthando Qave (baritone), Pretty Yende (soprano), Albert Combrink (piano), July Zuma (tenor)

Diemersfontein Wines 10th Anniversary Concert: July Zuma, Albert Combrink, Luthando Qave, Brett Rightford, Pretty Yende, Francoise Roode, Susan Sonnenberg, David Sonnenberg, Deidre Taylor, Rene May, Given Nkosi, Denise Stubbs

Here you can see an operetta extract: Pretty Yende – accompanied by the Cape Philharmonic orhestra conducted by Chris Dowdeswell – performs the aria Meine Lippen by Franz Lehar from the Operetta Giuditta:

Great applause from the La Scala audience for Miss Yende’s debut. She performed the music from her planned debut at the concerts in South Africa.

See more Youtube clips of Miss Yende and read an interesting perspective on South African singers at Jean Ronald LaFond’s blogsite

Kashu-do (歌手道): The Way of the Singer