Pretty Yende: Dreams
Just over a year after she released her debut disc, ‘A Journey’ (11/16), Pretty Yende offers us a follow-up recital that presents similar virtues: a voice of lovely creamy consistency, simultaneously seductive with bright, elegant lines and agile coloratura.
Unsurprisingly, given the short intervening period, ‘Dreams’ focuses on similar repertoire to its predecessor: instead of Rossini, Delibes, Bellini, Gounod and Donizetti, we now have Gounod, Donizetti, Bellini and Meyerbeer – then some more Bellini. Where before we had Lucia’s Act 1 aria, here we have the whole of her Mad Scene – with flute, though, fans of the glass harmonica will be upset to hear.
It’s a role that Yende has been singing impressively for a while now, and the scene is impeccably sung and distinguished by some gorgeous limpid phrasing, even if it remains a little passive, dramatically speaking. Similarly, after Giacomo Sagripanti launches into the introduction of Juliette’s Waltz Song with plenty of fizz, Yende doesn’t seem quite as full of beans as she could be.
The soprano sings the Linda di Chamounix aria exquisitely, and she offers more character and temperament, too, in the two extended Bellini scenes. She is taxed a little by the enormous demands of the Straniera excerpt and, though she digs up some extra determination at ‘Or se pago’ (around 1'40" on track 9), starts to sound a little tired, coming off her final note rather hastily. She spins some lovely long lines lines as Amina, a role in which she seems fully to let her hair down, and there’s some welcome extra steel in the voice for Dinorah’s ‘Ombre légère’ – for which she also gamely delivers the opening mini-melodrama.
As before, there’s a sense of the recital format not showing us all of what this outstanding singer can offer. And do I detect some of the varnish rubbing off on some of her top notes? The orchestral playing is not always of the highest quality but there’s decent support from, among others, the elegant tenor Piero Pretti. Another impressive if not wholly satisfying release, then, but one that leaves one impatient to hear more.