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Who can stand in for Cecilia Bartoli?

The Italian mezzo has pulled out of Saturday’s premiere of a new production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory at the Teater an der Wien. She has an infection and will miss Monday’s show as well.

So which artist has sung the Comtesse Adele and can stop Vienna’s bedazzled Cecilia fans besieging the box-office for their money back?

Step up Pretty Yende, 26, the fastest rising coloratura of the moment, poster girl of renascent South African culture. Amazingly, available at three days’ notice.

photo courtesy Wiener Kammeroper

And now, Nessun Dorma as never heard before. What do you think?

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  1. Despite all the general Eurocentric doom and gloom in South Africa at the moment, I am delighted that Pretty Yende is making her mark in international opera. At the same time, watch out for South African tenor Sipho Fubise who completed postgraduate studies at the RNCM recently.

  2. Pretty Yende is a very brilliant young star indeed; she the winner of the 6th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition in 2006 in Istanbul… But despite of all this I would still prefer to watch Bartoli in the role on 23rd of this month :)

  3. The video is deplorable a step down from the dreadful 3 tenors times.
    Why would any one in their right mind do this sort of travesty ?

  4. Michael Redmond says:

    Why not? Aretha Franklin and others have already had their way with this aria. A great tune is a great tune. One can hope that these popsy versions might wake up young listeners to the beauty to be found in opera or, at very least, dispose them favorably to future encounters with the art form. Opera was far healthier back in the days when Verdi tunes were the staples of barrel organ grinders. How can one argue with that?

  5. Anne O'Neal says:

    I second this comment – opera began as “popular” music and non-traditional versions of arias may help
    introduce opera to a broader audience.

    • Nonsense — opera did not begin as a “popular music form ” and had nothing to do with the “popular”audience
      of the day – it was at first a court entertainment far from the unwashed masses and when it did get to
      the general public it catered mainly to the well educated rich folk of the day. It was “popular ” only with
      a certain segment of society . The nonsense that this sort of travesty might bring in future lovers of opera
      was always touted by the fat one of the three tenors–it was a specious comment – people who are interested
      in hearing and seeing opera don’t get there by way of Ms. Franklin .

      • Michael Redmond says:

        You may be right, Ariel. And you’re certainly right about opera’s origins. But I still think we need to leave as many doors open to “the unwashed masses” as possible. It’s a different world.

  6. Simon Morgan says:

    I counted myself lucky when — last November — I was able to secure two tickets for the first night of this short run of “Le Comte Ory” with Cecilia Bartoli at the Theater an der Wien.
    So the news that Bartoli was pulling out, at least for the first two dates of the run, came as something of a blow.
    Never mind. Having heard Pretty Yende in the live broadcast from the Met a few weeks ago, I knew the evening wasn’t going to be a total disaster, even without la Bartoli.
    Nevertheless, I don’t think anyone in the audience knew, until Pretty Yende appeared on stage and sang her first aria, what a very special evening we were all in for.
    She was quite simply sensational, as was the entire cast, especially Lawrence Brownlee in the title role. Regula Mühlemann in the role of Ory’s Page also deserves special mention, as does Jean-Chrstophe Spinosi and his Ensemble Mateus in the pit.
    A truly wonderful evening.

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