“Thank you, BBC Music Magazine, for having me as your cover story in this month’s edition,” Egyptian soprano Fatma Said wrote on her Facebook page earlier this week.
BBC Music Magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to classical music, features Said on its May 2021 issue, adding a tagline “The Egyptian soprano’s dazzling debut album enjoys a double triumph!”
Featuring Said, it follows April’s announcement of the BBC Music Magazine Awards, where she won the Vocal Award for her debut album ‘El-Nour’ — released on Warner Classics and featuring pianist Malcolm Martineau — as well as the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ award.
Said won the awards for her El-Nour (The Light) debut album that was released in October 2020 by Warner Classics.
“This border-crossing recital programme of French, Spanish, and Arabic works was described as ‘elegantly alluring’ by BBC Music Magazine critics, taking listeners on a journey through the works of Ravel, Berlioz, and Falla to lesser-known composers such as Obradors, Serrano, and Gaubert,” reads the BBC Music Magazine’s announcement referencing El-Nour.
Three music albums were nominated by BBC in the vocal category; besides Said’s El-Nour album, the two other albums are ‘Mahler’, featuring duet Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) and Robert Dean Smith (tenor) performing with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski; and ‘Chanson d’Amour’, with songs by Ravel, Debussy, Poulenc, and Fauré performed by Sabine Devieilhe (soprano) to Alexandre Tharaud on the piano.
Other segments of the competition included: orchestral, concerto, opera, choral, chamber, and instrumental.
The BBC Music Magazine Awards shed light on premiere recordings and new versions of old favourites. The listeners were invited to vote (until 18 March) by following the website’s directives. The winners were announced in mid-April.
Fatma Said is one of Egypt’s brightest stars of classical music, with a portfolio that includes a series of significant international accomplishments.
Said’s singing career took a serious turn when, at the age of 14, she enrolled at the vocal studio of Neveen Allouba.
After graduating high school, she traveled to Germany to continue her music studies, enrolling at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin, where she studied under Renate Faltin.
She later won the 8th Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin.
In 2011, Said won her second award at the 16th International Schuman Lied Contest, as well as the Grand Award at the Giulio Peroti International Opera Contest.
In 2012, she won both first prize and the audience prize at the 7th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition that took place in Istanbul, Turkey.
Said then decided to apply for a scholarship at the prestigious La Scala Academy in Milan.
After four rounds of screenings, Said found herself in a group of 11 young talents chosen by the Academy from thousands of applicants.
She was the first Egyptian singer to be accepted to this world-renowned institution and went on to perform there in Mozart’s Magic Flute.
Said was also one of six musicians selected by BBC Radio 3 to take part in its New Generation Artist Scheme from 2016 to 2018.
In early 2020, Said signed a recording contract with a leading classical label: Warner Classics. This cooperation resulted with the release of her debut album El-Nour in October of the same year.
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