27. 10. 2021



This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of Zlín’s Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra, which is marking the occasion with a series of special concerts. One of these is scheduled for 25th November at the Congress Centre in Zlín when the Orchestra will be hosting the outstanding singer Pretty Yende, one of the brightest stars in the current operatic firmament. 

Pretty Yende’s story is one of human talent, unrelenting hard work, ambition and the drive to overcome whatever obstacles life put in her way. Growing up in Piet Retief, a small South African town on the border with the Kingdom of Eswatini, Pretty, who would occasionally sing in church, initially wanted to become an accountant.  Until the age of 16 she had no knowledge of opera, but then saw a new British Airways TV advertisement for the first time featuring an excerpt of the Flower Duet from the opera Lakmé. She was totally captivated by the delightful melody which quite literally changed her life, and from that moment on she decided she only wanted to sing. Her sheer determination soon won her a scholarship at the conservatoire in Cape Town where she studied under Virginia Davids, the first black female singer to establish herself in the world of opera under apartheid. When the opportunity arose for Pretty to take part in prestigious European singing competitions, she jumped at the chance even though all her savings were swallowed up in travelling expenses, but it proved to be worth her while. A series of successful performances in singing competitions resulted in her appearance in late 2011 at the Operalia World Opera Competition, where she became the first ever female singer to be awarded in three categories. This led to offers from leading European opera houses such as Milan’s La Scala, and in 2013 to a highly lucrative offer from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, taking Pretty definitively to the pinnacle of opera-singing and making her a true diamond in the world of opera. 

Our concert on 25th November at the Congress Centre promises to be an exceptional evening featuring Pretty Yende in a programme of well-known opera arias and overtures accompanied by the Zlín Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the Spanish conductor Diego García Rodríguez. Don’t miss this truly remarkable occasion!


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