When she was fourteen years old, soprano, Fatma Said, took her first singing lesson at Dr. Neveen Allouba’s vocal studio at the Cairo Opera House. That first lesson was the start of a musical journey that would take her from her home in Cairo, a city with only a limited opera scene, to the hallowed boards of Milan’s Teatro Alla Scala and selection as one of six BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists.
Fatma Said’s extraordinary talent soon became obvious to her family and teachers, and they encouraged her to continue her studies abroad. She was soon accepted to the prestigious Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin at the age of eighteen where she studied opera singing with Prof. Renate Faltin. Her musical development was strongly influenced by distinguished professors, such as Julia Varady, Wolfram Rieger and Tom Krause who all helped her hone her musical interpretation.
After receiving her Bachelor of Music from the Hanns Eisler School of Music, Said was awarded a scholarship to study at the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala in Milan. In 2014, Said became the first Egyptian soprano to perform on the iconic stage, and at the age of 25, she performed the title role of Pamina in a critically acclaimed new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, directed by Peter Stein and conducted by Adam Fischer. Said was hailed by critics as one of the most promising young singers at the academy with her performance described as “luminous,” “warm and mature,” and full of “incredible depth.” The influential Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said of her, “The flawless, radiant Fatma Said as Pamina is a discovery.”
Fatma was the winner of the 8th Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in Dublin, the 7th Leyla Gencer International Opera Competition in Istanbul, the Giulio Perotti International Opera Competition in Germany and second prize at the 16th International Robert Schumann Lied Competition. Between 2006 and 2009, she repeatedly won the German young musicians’ competition “Jugend Musiziert” in Germany.
During her time in La Scala Said sang Clorinda in the children’s version of Rossini's La Cenerentola and La Pastourelle in Ravel's L'enfant et les Sortilèges, Berta in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia where she shared the stage with Leo Nucci as Figaro and Ruggero Raimondi as Don Basilio and was cast as the 1st Ecologist in the 2015 world premiere of Giorgio Battistelli’s contemporary opera CO2, based on Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Other roles include Feanichton in Offenbach’s Bataclan and Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, among others.
Said has participated extensively in concerts and recitals all over the world, performing in Egypt, Germany, France, Greece, Turkey, Oman, Finland, Austria, Spain, Italy, USA, Colombia and Switzerland.
Despite her demanding schedule, Fatma Said maintains a strong connection to her country. In 2011, she sang “The Day the People Changed,” a song about the Egyptian revolution composed by Mostafa El Halawany, at TEDxCairo. She also worked with renowned Italian composer Eugenio Bennato during Teatro San Carlo’s 2013 educational season on a peace project to make children and students more aware of the Arab Spring through song. In 2014, Said represented Egypt on Human Right’s Day at the United Nations in Geneva and performed alongside Juan Diego Florez, singing for children’s right to education and dignity through music. In 2016, Fatma Said was singled out for one of Egypt’s highest accolades during the first National Youth Convention: She became the first opera singer ever to be awarded the state’s Creativity Award for her outstanding artistic achievement on an international level. Earlier in 2016, she also received an honorary award from the Egypt’s National Council for Women.