(*South African bookings only)
Pretty Yende was born in Piet Retief, Mpumalanga province in South Africa. She only started singing at the age of 16 after hearing the Flower Duet from Lakme in a TV commercial. Two years later she was accepted at the University of Cape Town’s opera school for a Performer's diploma in opera as well as graduate studies. She graduated cum laude under the guidance of Associate Professor Virginia Davids and Professor Angelo Gobbato.
In 2009 she won the first prize in the opera and operetta sections of the Belvedere International Singing Competition in Vienna, which brought her a two-year internship at the La Scala Theatre in Milan. Other accolades include first prizes in ALL six other international competitions she has participated in: the Montserat Caballe Singing Competition in 2009, Savonlinna International Competition 2010, Leyla Gencer Singing Competition 2010, Bellini International Singing Competition, Operalia World Competition International Award winning and Placido Domingo's Operalia World Competition in 2011. At the Operelia, the audience agreed for the first time with jury as they also declared her as their favourite singer. She also won the prize for Zarzuela category, making history by being the first singer to win all the major prizes at this prestigious competition.
Pretty has performed with some of the best names in the business like Placido Domingo, Gustavo Dudamel and Andrea Bocelli. In 2013, she was awarded one of the highest honours in South Africa: a presidential Order of Merit for her achievements in the field. She performs regularly in South Africa and abroad.