Pretty Yende: A Journey – Arias by Rossini, Delibes, Bellini, Gounod, and Donzietti

Reviewed on Tue 25 Jul, 2017

Her creamy tone and natural controlled vibrato is immediately pleasing and consistently beautiful. Rossini’s 'Una voce poco fa' sparkles as one would hope for and Gounod’s 'Dieu, quell frisson' is imposingly passionate.

This recital of seven scenes and arias marks a significant milestone in Pretty Yende’s journey from the South African townships to a career on important world stages. Her creamy tone and natural controlled vibrato is immediately pleasing and consistently beautiful. Unsurprising, therefore, that Rossini’s 'Una voce poco fa' sparkles as one would hope for and Gounod’s 'Dieu, quell frisson' is imposingly passionate. Less pleasing, though, are the occasional pitching issues that creep in (Bellini’s I puritani Mad scene), and, particularly on repeated listening, the uniformity of Yende’s other interpretations. That said, it’s to Yende’s credit that she delves behind the standard repertoire with 'Respiro io qui ... Ma la sola, ohimè!' (Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda) and 'En proie à la tristesse' (Rossini’s Le Comte Ory), presented as full scenes rather than truncated ‘torso’ arias. Good partnership with mezzo Kate Aldrich and others; serviceable accompaniment from Marco Armiliato and his Italian forces; notes, texts and translations included.
–Evan Dickerson