Basma Edrees is an outstanding violinist from Egypt who studied at the prestigious Juilliard School for Performing Arts, was an honorary performer at the only opera festival in Montenegro – Operosa Festival, as well as this year, thanks to the support of Luštica Bay and Mr Samih Sawiris.
Operosa Montenegro Opera Festival 2017 will be held from 23rd – 27th of August in Herceg Novi at the fortresses of Kanli Kula, Forte Mare and the Old town of Herceg Novi. Basma will perform at the Final gala concert with a young accomplished conductor from Portugal Jan Wierzba and the Operosa Montenegro Orchestra. We talked with Basma and find out what does she expect from this year’s Festival.
NM: Is there anything that you are particularly looking forward when coming to Montenegro?
BE: Montenegro is a beautiful country with a hospitable people. I look forward to being greeted by the Adriatic sea and the mountains that surround you from all sides as if they are greeting you with a big hug.
NM: Last as well as this year, you are part of Operosa Montenegro Opera Festival. How was your experience working with Operosa?
BE: It was quite lovely. Operosa is a well organized festival, with a friendly administration, which made my experience there quite smooth.
NM: What are your impressions of the last year performance?
BE: I really enjoyed playing in Forte mare. It is a beautiful venue for the audience to listen to music surrounded by the water and the clear sky. It was also a pleasure meeting and playing with a native of Montenegro, Vladimir Drobnjak, who was very kind to our group and took us on a lovely tour in Kotor, displaying the hospitality of the Montenegrin people.
NM: What do you expect this year?
BE: I am sure it will be a pleasant experience. I look forward to performing with Maestro Jan Wierzba and with the Operosa Montenegrin orchestra.
NM: Could you tell us more about the music that you prepared for this year’s Festival?
BE: This year I prepared two pieces: Mozart’s 3rd violin concerto and Meditation from Massenet’s opera, Thais. Mozart’s 3rd violin concerto is a lively youthful piece that he composed when he was 19 years old. It exhibits Mozart’s love for opera and his opera mentality in a purely instrumental format. Watch out for the characters of the different musical themes and how different musical motives interact with each other as if they are characters in an opera. As for the Meditation, it is a piece from Massenet’s opera, Thais, which takes place in Egypt (my homeland). This opera revolves around a face-off between two worlds; a physical, sexual one and a more inner spiritual one. In the opera, there is a monk that tries to convert Thais (a courtesan) to the path of God. The Meditation I will be playing represents Thais meditating on her past sinful life and what her life could become if she follows the path of God. Basically, this Meditation represents Thais’ spiritual awakening.
NM: You select Mozart’s 3rd concerto. Is this piece something you enjoy performing and why?
BE: The reason I selected a concerto by Mozart is because a Mozart concerto fits very nicely into the spirit of Operosa; a festival that focuses mainly on Opera. Since Mozart is one of the greatest Opera composers to have ever lived, I thought a Mozart concerto would be great for this occasion. Mozart composed 5 violin concertos. His 3rd concerto is by far my personal favorite.
NM: Do you have any expectations about playing with the Operosa Montenegrin orchestra?
BE: I am excited to play with such a talented group of musicians and with such an accomplished conductor. I look forward to it!
NM: Why would you suggest someone to come and visit Operosa Montenegro Opera Festival?
BE: I recommend everyone to come to Operosa for several reasons. Firstly, the setting where the festival takes place is remarkable. Secondly, the festival invites musical talent from all around the world and it is a great opportunity to be able to witness these evolving talents and the different musical interpretations they have to offer. Besides, Operosa is a platform designed to support youth and their interpretations of music. I encourage everyone to come and support the youth – who will become the musicians of the future- on their difficult, yet rewarding musical journey.