Abeer Nehme: A Radiant Lebanese Voice

Nélida Nassar  12.15.2015

The magical encounter of a rare musical talent, the soprano Abeer Nehme, with the Lebanese Symphony Orchestra at the Aboukhater Auditorium continues to resonate long after the performance has ended. Possessing a golden, rich voice of unusual warmth and mellowness, she has, in addition, the agility to sing in 26 different languages. Nehme, whose is of Lebanese origin, has a commanding stage presence and a unique timber, and her exceptional purity and clarity of projection compensate for any technical weaknesses. She has a sincere way of singing which seems to appeal directly to the soul.

Girlishly pretty and good-natured, Nehme is anything but a classic diva. Indeed, she is more than that, and her sweetness, femininity and humility pervaded her entire concert. She roamed widely across traditional boundaries, singing sacred and religious music from the Aramaic and Byzantine rites, as well as drawing on popular and traditional (maqamat) Arabic repertory and crossing over effortlessly to the standard opera embellishments, thus displaying considerable skill in her ornementations, trills, and natural vibrato. She is capable of producing great pianissimos and as she matures will likely develop a weightier, lyric quality with increased richness and depth of tone. Still, being a great soprano does not automatically make one a great opera singer. Will this exceptional artist eventually be able to embrace major operatic roles at the world’s great opera houses? Does she wish for it? The prospects seem remarkable.