SA’s Pretty Yende Makes History as the First Black Woman to Perform at a British Monarch’s Coronation Ceremony
South Africa’s own Pretty Yende, a rising star in the opera world, has once again made history. On July 17, 2021, Yende became the first Black woman to perform at a British monarch’s coronation ceremony when she sang at the recent BBC Proms event celebrating the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Significance of Yende’s Achievement
Pretty Yende’s achievement at the BBC Proms event was significant because there has been a long-standing dearth of Black female representation in classical music, especially in the world of opera. Even though a few Black women have made remarkable contributions to classical music, they are still vastly underrepresented in the industry.
To be the first Black woman to perform at a British monarch’s coronation ceremony is, therefore, quite a milestone for Yende and for the entire Black community. Yende’s achievement is a reminder that barriers can be broken down and that talent and hard work will eventually take center stage.
The Journey of Pretty Yende
Born in South Africa, Pretty Yende was raised in a small town near the Cape in the Eastern Cape province. Yende grew up listening to African music and was first introduced to opera through the movie “The Fifth Element” when she heard the iconic aria, “Il dolce suono.” She was immediately captivated by the music and worked tirelessly to learn some songs in different languages, eventually honing her singing skills.
After studying music in South Africa and then Switzerland, Yende rose to prominence when she won the Belvedere singing competition in 2009. Since then, she has performed at some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, the Paris Opera and Covent Garden.
The Future for Yende and Black Women in Classical Music
Pretty Yende’s performance at the British Monarch’s Coronation Ceremony has once again brought the issue of Black women in classical music to the forefront. Her achievement is a reminder that the struggle to shatter glass ceilings is far from over.
As a successful Black female opera singer, Pretty Yende is an inspiration to many young girls of color who aspire to break into the music industry. Her achievement is a powerful statement that the world of classical music is changing, slowly but surely, to become more inclusive and diverse.
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Summary: South African opera singer Pretty Yende has made history by becoming the first Black woman to perform at a British monarch’s coronation ceremony. This significant achievement highlights the need for greater representation of Black women in classical music, and Yende’s journey is an inspiration to young girls of color looking to break into the industry. Her performance at the BBC Proms event signals a gradual shift towards greater inclusivity and diversity in classical music. #ENTERTAINMENT