Performance Monday, October 13, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Pretty Yende
Kamal Khan

Weill Recital Hall
Pretty Yende earned standing ovations when she made her 2013 Metropolitan Opera debut in Rossini’s Le comte Ory. Of that performance, The New York Times said, “Her voice has a luminous sheen … She delivered some of the most difficult coloratura passages with scintillating precision.” And The Telegraph said of her solo recital, “Possessed of diamanté tone and a megawatt smile, the young South African soprano Pretty Yende seems to take charge of the stage wherever she goes.”

Part of Salon Encores.


  • Pretty Yende, Soprano
    New York Recital Debut
  • Kamal Khan, Piano


  • ROSSINI "La promessa" from Les soirées musicales
  • BELLINI "Vanne, o rosa fortunata"
  • DONIZETTI "Me voglio fa 'na casa"
  • DONIZETTI "L’amor funesto"
  • DEBUSSY "Beau soir"
  • DEBUSSY "Fleur des blés"
  • DEBUSSY "Clair de lune"
  • DEBUSSY "Mandoline"
  • DEBUSSY "Apparition"
  • MEYERBEER "O beau pays de la Touraine" from Les Huguenots
  • LISZT Tre sonetti di Petrarca
    ·· Pace non trovo
    ·· Benedetto sia'l giorno
    ·· I' vidi in terra angelici costumi
  • JERÓNIMO GIMÉNEZ "Sierra de Granada" from La tempranica
  • JERÓNIMO GIMÉNEZ "La tarántula é un bicho mú malo" from La tempranica
  • JERÓNIMO GIMÉNEZ "Me llaman la primorosa" from El barbero de Sevilla
  • BELLINI "Oh, se una volta sola ... Ah! non credea mirarti ... Ah! non giunge uman pensiero" from La sonnambula

  • Encores:
  • PUCCINI "O mio babbino caro" from Gianni Schicchi
  • TRAD. "Thula mntwana" sung in Zulu
  • HERBERT "Art Is Calling for Me" (The Prima Donna Song) from The Enchantress


  • Pretty Yende

    South African soprano Pretty Yende came to international attention in 2010, when she was the first artist in the history of the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition to win first prize in every category. In 2011, she was the first-prize winner of Plácido Domingo's Operalia, The World Opera Competition.

    Ms. Yende made her professional operatic debut at the Latvian National Theatre in Riga as Micaëla in Carmen. A 2011 graduate of the Teatro alla Scala Academy, she made her debut with that company in 2010 as Berenice in Rossini's L'occasione fa il ladro,and has since appeared as Norina in Don Pasquale, Musetta in La bohème, and La Comtesse Adèle in Le comte Ory.

    In January 2013, Ms. Yende made an acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera, stepping in on a few weeks' notice as La Comtesse Adèle opposite Juan Diego Flórez. Immediately after, she made her Vienna debut at the Theater an der Wien in the same role. The 2012-2013 season also included her first performance of the title role in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor in concert in Cape Town, South Africa, and her London debut in a recital at Wigmore Hall.

    During the 2013-2014 season, Ms. Yende made her LA Opera debut as Micaëla and her debut in Hamburg as Fiorilla in Il turco in Italia, and returned to Teatro alla Scala in Le comte Ory. She also appeared in concert at the Verbier Festival, at Cadogan Hall in London, and in Prague, Moscow, Verona, and Vienna.

    During the 2014-2015 season, Ms. Yende performs as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Metropolitan Opera, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia in Oslo, Lucia at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Norina in her debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, and Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with LA Opera.In future seasons, Ms. Yende will make debuts at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, with the Zurich Opera, and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She will also return to the Metropolitan Opera for several roles.


    More Info

  • Kamal Khan

    American conductor and pianist Kamal Khan has performed with many opera companies and in many venues around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, The Dallas Opera, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Palm Beach Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Theater Bonn, Cape Town Opera, and Ópera de Puerto Rico. Additionally, Mr. Khan has conducted the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

    As a recitalist and accompanist, Mr. Khan has appeared in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Suntory Hall and Casals Hall in Tokyo, the Palau de Congressos in Andorra, and the Baxter Theatre Center in South Africa with singers such as Juan Pons, June Anderson, Verónica Villarroel, Justino Díaz, Lauren Flanigan, Ilona Tokody, Hermann Prey, and Ainhoa Arteta.

    Mr. Khan is head of the University of Cape Town Opera School. He was assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and resident conductor and chorus master of the Palm Beach Opera. He was also resident conductor of the Tenerife Opera Festival and head of faculty at the International School of Vocal Study of the Balearic Islands. Additionally, Mr. Khan has worked at Mannes College The New School For Music, Manhattan School of Music, International Vocal Arts Institute, European Center for Vocal Arts, Chautauqua School of Music, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Ravinia Festival, and Glimmerglass Opera.

    A native of Washington, DC, Mr. Khan has received prizes from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Music Teachers National Association, and the National Symphony Orchestra. The PBS documentary I Live to Sing, based on his work in South Africa, won a 2014 Emmy Award for best cultural programing.


    More Info

At a Glance

Three of the greatest composers of Italian opera in the first half of the 19th century—Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti—also wrote songs for performance in the salons of Paris, Milan, Naples, and elsewhere. We hear four love songs, including vows of enduring ardor, an ardent address to a rose, a sailor’s happiness in love, and a despairing lover’s farewell to a faithless sweetheart.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Claude Debussy revolutionized the language of music. As a young man in his teenage years and early 20s, he had an affair with an older woman who was a skillful coloratura soprano, inspiring a spate of song composition in the early 1880s. We hear five of his early songs, including his first settings of poems by the masterful poet Paul Verlaine.

The great pianist and composer Franz Liszt experimented with innovative harmonies and pianistic effects in his earlier songs, often revised later in life to be more spare. After intermission, we are treated to the thrilling virtuosity of his original versions of three songs on sonnets by the great 14th-century poet Petrarch.

For the remainder of the music on this evening’s program, we turn to the theatrical world—to grand opera in France, zarzuela in Spain, and bel canto opera in Italy. Giacomo Meyerbeer was one of the most important composers of so-called grand opera, huge historical pageants with elaborate sets and costumes. In Les Huguenots, Marguerite de Valois, soon to be queen of France in the late 16th century, sings a beautiful aria in praise of the “garden of France” (the Touraine region).

From the mid-17th century to the present day, Spanish composers and playwrights have collaborated on zarzuela—dramas that alternate spoken scenes with musical numbers. Jerónimo Giménez’s La tempranica, a one-act drama about a half-gypsy girl whose love for an aristocratic man is not reciprocated, includes two enticing songs featured on tonight’s program. In another of his popular dramas, a singer prepares for her role in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.

We end with Amina, the title character in Vincenzo Bellini’s opera La sonnambula (The Sleepwalker), singing a stratospheric aria in which she goes from tragic loss of love to the restoration of love and joy.
Program Notes


"Bel raggio lusingher" from Rossini's Semiramide

UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa

This concert is made possible, in part, by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Lead funding for UBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa is provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support is provided by the Mai Family Foundation, South African Tourism, and South African Airways.

UBUNTU is held in collaboration with the Department of Arts and Culture of the Republic of South Africa and the South African Consulate General in New York in celebration of 20 years of freedom and democracy.
This performance is part of Great Singers III: Evenings of Song.

Part of