There was tremendous joy, pride and excitement as South African Soprano Pretty Yende took first prize in the Female Section of most prestigious singing competition in the world, the “Operalia World Opera Competition”. Miss Yende – a former graduate of the Opera School of the South African College of Music where she studied under Prof. Virgina Davids – currently resides in Milan, Italy, where she recently made her debut and completed her first year as member of the La Scala Opera Studio.
The nineteenth edition of the Operalia International Competition took place in Moscow from 18th to 24th of July 2011. Plácido Domingo, artistic director and chairman of the jury (although non-voting member), conducted the orchestra that accompanied the thirteen candidates.
This year again almost a thousand candidate submitted their applications to participate in one of the greatest international vocal competitions. Forty contestants were selected to compete during the quarter and semi finals. On Sunday, July 24, only the thirteen best candidates were on stage for the final round. Past winners included Erwin Schrott and Rolando Villazon.
Miss Yende won $30 000 First Prize for Best Female Singer, and shared first prize $10 000 int he Zarzuela Prize Category. She also won the Audience Favourite Prize (and a Rolex watch). American tenor René Barbera won the Best Male Singer prize.
Rounding out the list of winners were soprano Olga Busuioc of Moldova and baritone Konstantin Shushakov of Russia, who won second prize; and tenor Jaesig Lee of South Korea and soprano Olga Pudova of Russia, who won third prize.
During Sunday’s ceremony, Domingo received the Russian Order of Friendship for his work in cultural exchange.
Pretty Yende – whose most recent international achievements include first prize in Paris at the International Bel-Canto Competition Vincenzo Bellini – is much admired and loved by all of us who have worked with her in her homeland and watch the development of her career and artistry with pleasure. In fact, many South Africans watched the medici.tv live broadcast and there were many tears and ulutations when the results were announced.
Below is a video-clip of her final round performance in Moscow. The orchestra is conducted by Maestro Domingo.
Domingo himself said of the competition:
“My purpose in Operalia is to help identify not only the best voices, but also to discover those singers whose personalities, characters and powers of interpretation show that they have the potential to become complete artists. Individuals such as these become tomorrow’s stars. This is why the jury is not exclusively made up of great singers, but also includes general managers, stage directors and casting directors. The importance of the international jury of each Operalia competition has helped to create the necessary stir and has usually led to important engagements for these artists.”
We love you Pretty, and wish you only the greatest joy and success.
Find more Videos of Pretty Yende HERE
Find more Pictures of Pretty Yende HERE
Find more information on the Operalia Competition HERE
Find Norman Lebrecht’s article about the financial difficulty of the orchestral musicians who accompanied the singers in this competition HERE.
Congratulations Pretty!! We first heard you just befor your departure for Milan, one cold winter’s evening at Diemersfontein.
Everyone in SA is very proud of you and we we wish you a spectacular career.
Good luck, we know you work very hard and is already a star!
Dit is wonderlike nuus! Dis interessant om te lees dat hulle op soek is na ‘n “complete artist”.
Jy’t ‘n oulike, gebruikers vriendelike website.
Geluk met die pragtige webwerf, Albert. Ek het Sondagaand by die College saam met van die personeel en musiekstudente na die uitsending van die kompetisie gekyk en die atmosfeer en entoesiasme daar was ongelooflik – onvergeetlik!
August 24, 2013…watching Operalia. No idea who will win. As soon as Pretty sang, we could feel, there was a winner. So glad, going into the Red, that was confirmed… She has the voice, projects and a lovely taste to dress. Congratulations to South Africans…
How lovely to read your comment! We were watching at home online. And when she sang, she sang with that SPECIAL Pretty magic, but one is almost scared to dream that high. When they announced her, we all jumped and danced and sang and cried. I cry even now just remembering. No disrespect to anyone in the industry, but if people realise just how hard it is for young black artists to reach any form of success given the historical situation in South Africa, her achievement is even that much more astonishing.
Thank you for this beautiful reminder of that special night!
for lady Yende
I am addressing you as a music expert, and as someone who was present at the music market South Africa.
> I am writing from a European country where I live. I have visited your beautiful country several times and, since I am delighted with the beauties of South Africa, I have created the music, text and a demo which I can send you by e-mail. Everyone who heard the song think it is excellent and that it can be a hit in South Africa and in the world.
> The song is called “South Africa” and it is protected by that name. It is about the beauties of South Africa.
> Please send me a reply regardless of you being interested or not.
> Thank you in advance.
> Best regards
> Velibor Obradovic
Please feel free to contact me with your Mp3
Please feel free to send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I look forward to hearing it!