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The Pretty Yende Portrait

Pretty Yende, Soprano

Artist: Taf [Tafadzwa Mukwashi]
Oil on canvas
610mm x 762mm

The woman in the 6th Painting of Facing a Century by Taf [Tafadzwa Mukwashi], is of South Africa’s very own Soprano extraordinaire, 25 year old, Pretty Yende. Her moment was at the 6th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition held in Istanbul, Turkey in August 2010, which she won with her beautiful and exquisitely polished aria from Massenet’s “Manon”. This impasto, oil on canvas painting captures the classical radiance that is Pretty Yende. From the township of eThandukukhanya just outside Piet Retief in Mpumulanga, South Africa, Pretty went on to complete, with distinction, a Performer’s Diploma in Opera at the University of Cape Town and then continued with postgraduate studies under the guidance of Virginia Davids, Raina Kabaivanska and Montserrat Caballe. Since then, this beautiful example of what women today can be and achieve, has a long list of accomplishments that is rapidly growing. She won all major prizes at the Hans Gabor International Singing Competition in Vienna and won the Montserrat Caballe International Singing Competition in Zaragoza, Spain in 2009. She came back to South Africa this year to share the stage with tenor Andrea Bocelli during “Celebrate Africa The Grand Finale” in July 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa to mark the end of the soccer world cup. She is currently in the Opera Studio of La Scala in Milan, under the mentorship of the great soprano Mirella Freni.

Taf asked Pretty what she wished for all young South African (and African) women to know. Pretty’s response? “That each and every one of you out there who has a dream…it’s possible…you can live your dream…if I can, then so can you…we live in a world full of many possibilities… we are not limited in terms of how much or how far/high we can dream…and we can make our dreams come true…” – Pretty Yende. And having heard that, and believing in the pursuit of limitless capabilities herself, Taf knew another moment in ‘Facing a Century’ had been celebrated.

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