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Waiting in the Wings for the Curtain to Rise

Meisterkurs Fischer-Dieskau Schwarzenber

Jazz Performance by Ohoud Khedr

In 2003, when she was just 15 years old, Ohoude Khadr decided to become a professional opera singer. With the assistance of the Sawiris Foundation, she has achieved her dream.

While Ohoude was exposed to fine music in her home, it wasn’t until 2000, when her school — the German School in Alexandria — hosted the regional competition for the Jugend musiziert competition, that her imagination was set on fire. The Jugend musiziert competition promotes amateur musicians and young people with professional musical ambitions. Ohoude’s family hosted a Turkish pianist for the competition and accompanied her to rehearsals and other events, allowing the budding opera singer to suddenly glimpse new horizons.

The following year, Ohoude auditioned for the competition but was told she would need intensive coaching if she wanted to succeed. Four years later, after regular lessons and participation in the Jugend musiziert competition, Ohoude was winning prizes.

In 2006, she won a coveted place at the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” in Berlin where she had the opportunity to study with Norma Sharp, Renate Faltin, and Julia Varady, three well-known opera singers. Classroom studies included theory of music, music history, music analysis, and Italian, while practical work covered singing, coaching, acting, dancing, and the piano. For Ohoude, one of the highlights of her time there was simply the opportunity to perform regularly at a professional level.

Ohoude’s German studies were made possible by the scholarships offered by the Sawiris Foundation and the Deutscher Akademisher Austausch Dienst (DAAD), the German Academic Exchange Service. While the DAAD scholarship depended on high grades, the one offered by the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development had a slightly different outlook: the recipient’s potential, achievements, special talents, and the way these qualities could benefit the Egyptian community were all taken into account.

For Ohoude, her studies abroad enriched her experience on an academic and musical level, and, more importantly, on a personal level. Being independent, she says, made her aware of her responsibilities to herself, her family, her community, and her country.

In 2010, Ohoude performed the lead role in Mozart’s opera, The Magic Flute, with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Orchestra in Alexandria. Her next dream: to sing with the New York City Metropolitan and London Operas, and become a cultural ambassador for Egypt.