Ruth Leon recommends…In Song: Pretty Yende – San Francisco Opera

Ruth Leon recommends…In Song: Pretty Yende – San Francisco Opera

Ruth Leon recommends

norman lebrecht

November 18, 2022

In Song: Pretty Yende – San Francisco Opera

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San Francisco Opera’s In Song is a series of intimate video portraits featuring remarkable artists who draw us into their distinctive spheres through stories and song—from classical to bluegrass, spirituals to mariachi and spanning Zulu, Samoan and Egyptian music.

This one is a 19-minute film about Pretty Yende , the South African soprano equally loved by audiences from Covent Garden to San Francisco to Cape Town, where this was filmed. It came to me from a dear friend in San Francisco (thank you, Harvey) and it’s lovely.

Steeped in Zulu culture in the timber city of Piet Retief, this 19-minute episode of In Song opens a window into the world of this enchanting artist, following her home as she visits with her congregation and family and performs with the young students of her alma mater, the Ndlela Secondary School.

Featured performances include the Zulu folk song “Iqhude” (The Rooster), the hymn “Hlengiwe” (Redeemed), and excerpts of Donizetti’s “L’amor funesto” (“Sad Love”) performed with pianist José Dias.

From overcoming a “very, very small voice” as a member of the school choir to winning national competitions to training in Cape Town, this delightful film, full of joy, aspiration and inspiration, is one great singer’s journey to international stardom.

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