Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1281, (4 - 10 February 2016)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1281, (4 - 10 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Homegrown soprano

The 24-year-old Egyptian soprano Fatma Said has won this year’s Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition, a prestigious contest held triennially in Dublin, Ireland. In its eighth round, the competition closed on 28 January

Al-Ahram Weekly

In the final performance held at the the National Concert Hall, Dublin, Fatma Said sung a few arias including Je veux vivre (Juliet’s Waltz), Juliette’s from Gounod’s opera Romeo and Juliet, writes Ati Metwaly. She was accompanied by the Wexford Festival Opera Orchestra, conducted by Patrik Ringborg.

This year, the competition saw entries from across the world — aged 20-32 years — with six of them reaching the finals: winner Fatma Said alongside William Davenport (who won 2nd prize, USA), soprano Adriana Gonzalez (3rd prize, Guatemala) and soprano Anna Anadarajh (4th prize, UK), tenor Sehoon Moon (5th prize, South Korea) and baritone Will Liveryman (6th prize, USA).

The competition is named after Veronica Dunne, Ireland’s renowned soprano, who following her remarkable career dedicated herself to nurturing young talents.

Commenting on her success to RTÉ lyric fm’s Niall Carroll on stage, Said said, “I can’t remember a time when I fell in love with singing. I always loved singing and I always loved music, particularly music, because I came to love opera at a later stage of my life. I must say that being at a German school in Cairo helped me a lot to develop a taste for classical music.”

Said’s education at the German School in Cairo was paralleled with her study of singing under the Egyptian soprano Neveen Allouba.

“I met Fatma when she was only 13 years old and from the very first lessons I knew she had a great potential,” Allouba says of the time she helped Said prepare for the Jugend musiziert competition in Germany, where the young talent reached the top, earning the first and second prizse in different categories.

As Said continued, guided by Allouba for several years, she finished her school and applied to a number of singing schools in Germany, where she was accepted by a few. She chose the Berlin Hans Eisler Music School where she studied under Professor Renate Faltin.

“Fatma is very strong. She has all that it takes to become a great singer. She has talent, she is very intelligent and hardworking. She is also supported by her family who has always encouraged her to attend international workshops and then continue her studies outside Egypt,” Allouba comments.

As Said’s career starting taking off, she came second in the 16th International Schumann Lied Contest and won the Grand Award at the Giulio Peroti International Opera Contest. This was followed by two prizes — the competition jury and the audience prize — at the seventh Leyla Gencer Voice Competition that took place in 2012  in Istanbul.  The latter success landed her with a scholarship to study at the prestigious music academy La Scala in Milan, Italy.

As a performer Said has appeared in a number of concerts in Egypt and sung in prestigious concert halls alongside renowned musicians, including the Peruvian Juan Diego Flórez at the UN Culture for Peace Concert at the United Nations Palace in Geneva, in 2014.

According to Allouba, Said’s most recent success is her work with La Scala’s opera company as she was already cast in the role of Pamina in the troupe’s production of Mozart’s Magic Flute. The opera will premiere in September.

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