South African soprano Pretty Yende has returned with a new album titled, Dreams. Yende’s fine soprano voice of lush beauty and warmness presents thirteen tracks. Including the celebrated role of Lucia from Lucia di Lammermoor, a role which she will also perform in New York next season. Yende used this as the starting point for inspiring the selections on Dreams, Yende also sings a newly composed cadenza (by conductor Giacomo Sagripianti and pianist Kamal Khan). Yende describes why she choose the title, ‘All the characters I sing here have a dream: for some it is positive, for others it is a kind of nightmare. They dream of a better life, or a prince charming, or being able to live free from fear. I wanted to explore what dreams and madness mean for each character.” The “Mad Scene” “Il dolce suono… Spargi d’amaro pianto,” has historically been a vehicle for coloratura sopranos to showcase their technical and expressive command of their voice. The orchestra plays well, and the supporting singers are impressive. Yende’s voice is wonderful, particularly in the middle, her coloratura is strong and her diction in both French and Italian is excellent. That’s the short of it!
Accompanied by conductor Giacomo Sagripanti and the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, the arias are form Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Linda di Chamounix, Bellini’s La straniera and La Sonnambula, and Meyerbeer’s Dinorah.
Roméo et Juliette, Act I: Ah! Je veux vivre
Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor: Act III: Eccola! Oh, giusto cielo!... Il dolce suono
Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor: Act III: Ohimè! Sorge il tremendo fantasma... Ardon gli incensi
Lucia di Lammermoor: Lucia di Lammermoor: Act III: S'avanza Enrico!
Lucia di Lammermoor: Act III: Spargi d'amaro pianto
Linda di Chamounix, Act I Scene 3: Ah! Tardai troppo
La Straniera: La Straniera: Act II: Scene 14 - Sono all'ara
La Straniera: La Straniera: Act II: Scene 15 - Vaneggia... Il passo sgombrisi...
La Straniera: La Straniera: Act II: Finale - Chi veggio? La regina!
Le pardon de Ploërmel (Dinorah), Act II Scene 3: Dieu, comme cette nuit est lente... Ombre légère
La Sonnambula: La Sonnambula: Act II: Scene 2: Oh, se una volta sola
La Sonnambula: La Sonnambula: Act II: Scene 2: Ah! Non credea mirarti
La Sonnambula: La Sonnambula: Act II: Scene 2: Ah! Non giunge uman pensiero
Released: November 10, 2017
Yende’s middle register of her voice is simply amazing. Her legato phrasing, excellent French diction and her ability to convey tenderness is equally amazing. The recital is well paced and takes the listener through many emotions and musical settings.
Yende’s pipes can certainly hit all the high notes, but do they have the rich character and dynamics that we love in her middle register? Our answer is no, but is it because her middle register is so good that the high notes paled in comparison? The answer lies in the middle, the very highest notes are strained, but the middle register is just so, so good.