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Nadine Sierra
Nadine Sierra

Nadine Sierra & Pretty Yende In Concert

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06/28/2024

Exploding all stereotypes about diva rivalry, two of today’s leading operatic prima donnas took great delight in sharing the limelight at a sold-out Paris Philharmonie on 6 March 2023. Fellow sopranos and close friends Nadine Sierra and Pretty Yende performed arias and duets from the Italian, French and American repertoire – a varied programme that combined operatic tradition with 20th-century flair, as well as reflecting some of the many highlights of the two singers’ careers so far.

“a demanding, generous and joyful performance”

Opera Online, March 2023

The duo were accompanied by conductor Giacomo Sagripanti at the helm of Les Frivolités Parisiennes in a performance filmed and recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon. The concert video is already available to watch on STAGE+, while the audio album will be released digitally and on CD on 12 July 2024. A first taster track, the “Flower Duet” from Lakmé, is out now, and will be followed on 28 June by “Over the Rainbow”. “Mira, o Norma” will be issued on the same day as the album, 12 July, and all three tracks are accompanied by performance videos.

Currently starring in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden (“sensationally good … This is Sierra’s show” – The Guardian), American soprano and exclusive DG artist Nadine Sierra regularly performs at the world’s top opera houses. Her roles include Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Norina (Don Pasquale), Violetta (La traviata), and Juliette (Roméo et Juliette) – the New York Times review of the Met’s recent revival of Gounod’s opera noted that “Sierra was luscious, lovely and free throughout her range … Daring to glory in her sound, [she] touched the operatic firmament. The applause went on and on.”

Sierra opens the album with Norina’s entrance aria and gives equally dazzling performances in excerpts from La traviata and Roméo et Juliette. Her final solo number is more of a rarity: “A Julia de Burgos” comes from Bernstein’s Songfest and featured on her DG debut album, There’s A Place For Us. Sierra (who herself has Puerto Rican heritage) invests the bitter words by the Puerto Rican poet of the title with dramatic power and intensity.

Two months to the day after the Paris concert, South African soprano Pretty Yende made history when she became the first African to sing solo at a British coronation. She too is in great demand at the most prestigious venues worldwide, in roles such as Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare in Egitto), Amina (La sonnambula), Marie (La fille du régiment), Violetta, and Olympia (Les contes d’Hoffmann). “Yende earned record-breaking applause for her spectacular Olympia”, wrote ResMusica about a Paris Opéra performance last December.

Yende stays with Donizetti here, performing Marie’s “Chacun le sait, chacun le dit” as her opening number. She also gives a flavour of her acclaimed incarnations of Amina and Olympia, as well as choosing a 20th-century rarity of her own – the more than apt “Art Is Calling for Me (I Want to Be a Prima Donna)” from Victor Herbert’s 1911 operetta The Enchantress (with a little help from the male musicians-turned-chorus members of Les Frivolités Parisiennes).

The two sopranos’ voices complement each other beautifully in a selection of duets, including excerpts from Rossini’s Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra and Bellini’s Norma, as well as the ever popular “Flower Duet” from Lakmé, the work that inspired Yende to pursue a career in opera rather than accountancy when she heard it on an advert. Their final number is “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story – Sierra takes the lead, before Yende further delights the enraptured crowd with an appropriate change to the lyrics: “I AM Pretty…”!

Nadine Sierra and Pretty Yende in Concert ends with the perfect Parisian encore – La vie en rose, in tribute to Edith Piaf. The digital version of the album also features additional encores as bonus tracks, the singers bringing a touch of cinematic magic to the stage with a medley of songs from classic films: “As Time Goes By” from Casablanca, “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music, the title song from The Way We Were and “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz.

Nadine Sierra and Pretty Yende will share a stage again at the Konzerthaus Dortmund on 30 May, as part of the KLANGVOKAL Music Festival, and will also perform together in Costa Rica this summer.

Nadine Sierra & Pretty Yende in Concert
NADINE SIERRA & PRETTY YENDE IN CONCERT
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