Soprano Fatma Said racked up prestigious prizes during her training years and became the first Egyptian singer to perform at Italy's La Scala opera house. She was signed to the major Warner Classics label in 2019. Said was born in Cairo in 1991. Her father, Ahmed Hassan Said, was an Egyptian opposition politician. Said attended a German school operated by the Sisters of Mercy of St. Borromeo, a Catholic organization, and then she began taking voice lessons with Neveen Allouba at the Cairo Opera House and immediately showed talent, appearing at a Christmas concert just three months later. Said applied to the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin and was admitted in 2009, studying with Renate Faltin and earning bachelor's and master's degrees there. Late in her time at the school, she began giving recitals and attracting attention for performances, including those at the 2013 Schumann Festival in Bonn. Said earned a scholarship to the International Opera Studio at La Scala in Milan, and while she was there, she appeared as Pamina in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, K. 620, becoming the first Egyptian to appear on the venerable La Scala stage. From 2016 to 2018, Said was a BBC New Generation Artist, an honor that led to appearances at prestigious venues such as the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Shangyin Opera House in Shanghai, and the Berlin Konzerthaus. Said has also appeared at festivals such as the International Music Festival in Bad Kissingen, Germany, and the Turgutreis International Classical Music Festival in Turkey. She has amassed a varied repertory, including Italian, German, and French works. Said has been heard on several operatic recordings and was signed to the Warner Classics label in 2019 as a solo artist. In 2020, she released her debut album, El Nour, which featured pieces by French, Spanish, and Egyptian composers, as well as Egyptian folk and popular songs.
© James Manheim /TiVo
© James Manheim /TiVo
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Classical - Released October 16, 2020 | Warner Classics
Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime
"Vieux pays merveilleux des contes de nourrice" (‘Old marvellous land of nursery tales’): These few words describe the irresistible and striking interpretation of Ravel's Shéhérazade, now of a bygone era. The timbral lows and highs radiate from Egyptian soprano Fatma Said’s voice. Her exemplary diction shines. Each word is intelligible and each sound exists to colour the word, emphasising its meaning. Nobody would have thought that the singer’s extremely versatile musicality – reminiscent of Regine Crespin’s vibrant performances – would find an even greater versatility in the orchestral version, with Malcolm Martineau’s beautifully timbred and precise piano occasionally slowing things down.The program completely immerses itself in Spain, with Rafael Aguirre’s subtle guitar substituting itself for Martineau’s piano. Other facets of Fatma Said’s voice are her musical agility and ethereal spirit, which are revealed in the two Falla pieces. The Canción de Marinela by José Serrano, where her voice thickens, will remain an unforgettable moment of sweet sensuality. It's easy to start dreaming of Said exploring some other roles in zarzuelas, for which she would be divine! The three songs by Federico García Lorca, excerpts of the 13 Canciones españolas antiguas, are rather modest and of a noble elegance, even in the carnal arabesques of Nana de Sevilla. This is the perfect transition for the ‘Arabic’ songs that Fatma Said chooses next.She introduces, for example, a pretty melody from Egyptian composer Gamal Abdel-Rahim (1924-1988), before flying off into the gorgeous Adieux de l’hôtesse arabe by Bizet where Burcu Karadağ's nev (a sort of reed flute) improvises in counterpoint alongside the vocals. The last four pieces return to the Egyptian and Lebanese standards, in a jazzy and nostalgic atmosphere. This is a captivating album with overwhelming emotion! © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
Fatma Said in the magazine
Fatma Said: El Nour
"Vieux pays merveilleux des contes de nourrice" (‘Old marvellous land of nursery tales’): These few words describe the irresistible and striking interpretation of Ravel's Shéhérazade, now of a bygone era. The timbral lows and highs radiate from Egyptian soprano Fatma Said’s voice. Her exemplary d...