Nicola Said is a Maltese Soprano, Malta Airport Foundation Ambassador and BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation Scholar. In 2019 she performed the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Festival Lyrique-En-Mer, covered the role of Nannetta Falstaff with The Grange Festival, and sang Madame Herz The Impresario at Teatru Manoel. In 2018, Nicola premiered the role of Maria in the first Maltese opera cycle Belt il-Bniedem – City of Humanity, produced by Maltese composer Reuben Pace as part of Valletta 2018 European Capital of Culture, and reprised the role of Lucia Lucia di Lammermoor in a revival of Fulham Opera’s production with Grimeborn at the Arcola Theatre. Other sung roles include Adele Die Fledermaus (Lyric Opera Studio Weimar), Adina Elixir of Love (New Sussex Opera), Blondchen Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Warsaw Chamber Opera), Zerlina Don Giovanni (Teatru Manoel), Queen of the Night The Magic Flute (Charles Court Opera), Zerbinetta Ariadne auf Naxos (Opera Project at West Green House Opera), and Hlas Jenufa (Grange Park Opera).
During her time at Guildhall and at California State University Long Beach, she performed the title role in Ariane, Lucia The Rape of Lucretia and Rosaura Le Donne Curiose, Barbarina Le Nozze di Figaro, La Fée Cendrillon, and Olympia Les Contes d’Hoffman. Nicola sung the partial roles of Zerbinetta Ariadne auf Naxos, Ginevra Ariodante, Ilia Idomeneo, Ophelia Hamlet, Norina Don Pasquale, Philine Mignon, Sophie Der Rosenkavalier, Madame Herz Der Schauspieldirektor, Musetta La Bohème, Madame Mao Nixon in China, and Susanna Le Nozze di Figaro, among others.
Nicola has performed in Cadogan Hall singing La Charmeuse in Thaïs with the Chelsea Opera Group and as a guest soloist with the Northern Chords Festival Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Bloxham in the Europe Day Concert 2017 at St. John’s Smith Square. She has given a solo recital in the St. Martin-in-the-Fields Embassy Series “Forsi Ħlomt…Discovering the Art of Maltese Song”, was the soloist in the Maltese Premier of Patrick Hawes’ Song of Songs at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, a soloist with Les Bougies Baroques in the Valletta International Baroque Festival, and in L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with the LSSO conducted by Dominic Wheeler at the Barbican Hall.
She has performed at the Royal Opera House with Guildhall’s Opera Makers Scenes Production in the role of Echo in Laurence Osborne’s opera Narkissus and the Reflektions. Nicola has recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra, appearing on their CD Caste of Mey, and later premiering and recording works by British composer Paul Carroll on A Song for Malta, dedicated to Maltese President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca. This CD was generously supported by the Malta Tourism Authority and the Malta Arts Council. Nicola was invited to give a private recital at St. James’s Palace hosted by the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps and has given a recital for HRH The Earl of Wessex at Palazzo Parisio in Malta which preceded a World Fellows dinner (Duke of Edinburgh event). She was invited by Peter Manning to give a recital with James Baillieu in Verdala Palace as part of the Three Palaces Festival, and was invited by the Cyprus Academy of Music to give a concert at The Centre of Visual Arts & Research of the Costas & Rita Severis Foundation. Nicola performed with Talent Unlimited and Barrandov Opera, and was guest performer in the President’s New Year’s Concert with the MPO conducted by Greek conductor Dionysis Grammenos at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. Nicola has given a solo recital at the Accademia Filarmonica Romana organised by the Embassy of Malta in Rome with the assistance of the Cultural Diplomacy Fund in the presence of Ambassador Frazier.
Nicola won First Prize and Audience Prize for the Fulham Opera Robert Presley Memorial in 2017, and in 2014 she was nominated by Joseph Calleja, with whom she has performed in concert on a number of occasions, to attend the Salzburg Mozarteum where she won Second Prize in the Strauss Competition. A Drake Calleja Trust Scholar, Samling Scholar, Peace and Prosperity Trust Young Artist, and a Talented Unlimited Young Artist, Nicola has also received support from the Walter Hyde Memorial Trust, Malta Arts Scholarship, Ian Tomlin Scholarship and the Janatha Stubbs Foundation. Nicola has studied with international soprano Yvonne Kenny and continues to coach with Juliette Bisazza in Malta. At CSULB she studied with Shigemi Matsumoto, and has coached with Barbara Frittoli, Caroline Dowdle, Michael Lloyd, Jack Livigni, David Gowland, Marilyn Horne, Edith Wiens, and Roger Vignoles among others.
Nicola recently performed in the Opening Concert of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra APS Summer Festival, the first concert since Covid lockdown which adhered to social distancing. Other engagements included a performance of Forsi Hlomt…Discovering the Art of Maltese Song at the Teatru Manoel as part of their Toi Toi Education Programme, a solo recital with the Classique Foundation Music+ Festival, the role of Marzelline Fidelio in the Strada Stretta Concept/International Spring Festival, Soprano Solo in Joseph Vella’s Rewwixta with Festivals Malta, and Soprano Solo in Karl Fiorini’s Requiem-Kalendar with Valletta Cultural Agency Strada Stretta Concept. In December she made her role debut as Mimì in La Bohème with Instant Opera, and in 2021 she will sing Madeline in the World Premier of Reuben Pace’s City of Humanity 2 – The Island Fortress. Last year recorded Puccini arias with the Malta Philharmonic under Gianluca Marciano and sang excerpts of Gilda/’Rigoletta’ and Mimi/La Boheme’ for Maltese TV. She also made her debut in Dubai and the UAE.
Last year she sang her first Mimì in London with Instant Opera and was a soloist in three evenings of opera and operetta at the Teatro Manoel. She returned to London to sing the role of Lucia, again with Instant Opera and she also sang Frasquita in the Malta Philharmonic production of Carmen. She will return to them in 2023 for Gilda which she also sings at Instant Opera. In December she made her debut at English National Opera, covering and singing the Soprano Angel in Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful World and earlier this year sang Zerbinetta at Opera North.
“The Maltese soprano Nicola Said embodies the accursed Lucia and gradually builds the tilt of her character to madness. The singer proposes a woman at once fragile, spontaneous and touching. The multiplicity of expressions is also found in the brilliant voice, powerful, agile, sharp treble. The effects “delirious” (trills, superacute) are dosed so as not to dilute the tragic essence of the character. The voice gradually becomes lighter (end of Act 2 and Act 3) as if to denote its moral transfiguration.” Olyrix, 2019
“The young Maltese soprano Nicola Said is an amazing Lucia: unity of the registers, richness of the timbre, highs sovereigns, vocalizations soft and easy…a deeply moving performance. The actress is no less touching than the singer, making credible the misguidance of the young woman torn between duty and feelings.” Forum Opera, 2019
“The Lucia of Nicola Said was no fragile creature, but a spontaneous young woman. By the time she entered for her Mad Scene, wielding a large knife and wearing her husband’s bloodied dress shirt, she seemed genuinely deranged and dangerous. Lyrical and sensuous of timbre…her staccatos were brilliant and the highest notes full-toned and integrated with the rest of her voice.” Opera Magazine, 2017
“Said made an appealing and rather sparky Lucia, at first quite together yet very much a live wire. In her opening solo, she revealed a finely vibrant voice which coped admirably with the tessitura. Technically strong, she was also a neat stylist and throughout the evening there was much to enjoy. In her solo in Act Two, with Said singing at a quieter, less vibrant level, there was great beauty too. Of course, everyone was waiting for the Mad Scene and Said did not disappoint. This was a very traditional version, rather than one of the modern editions, and Said included all of the ultra-high notes. She has all these, but I felt that she might want to investigate some of the modern editions. What I liked about the Mad Scene was that it felt all of a piece with the opera, rather than Said’s party piece. This was very much Lucia as drama, and that helped enormously.” Planet Hugill, 2018