Next week, Hersi Matmuja caps an eventful and memorable year with her graduation in opera singing from Rome’s renowned St Cicilia Conservatory. Following this, Hersi will make some highly contrasting performances, about which she spoke to escXtra.
From 19-21 October, Hersi fronts a delegation from St Cicilia’s that will be among 200 students from Rome, participating in the annual ‘Voyage of Memory’ to Poland. The musicians of Santa Cecilia Conservatory will give a concert where they will play the most significant works of the composer and poet Ilse Weber, who wrote prolifically whilst at a Nazi concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic. After two years, Weber was deported with her family to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she died aged 41.
Hersi will be the soloist at the ‘Concert to the Memory’ and confesses,
I am afraid, as I don’t know what I will see there. But it is an honour to be able to sing these melodies.
Albania’s entrant in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest will be accompanied by a string quartet and accordion, performing pieces such as ‘Auschwitz lied’, ‘Wiegala’, ‘Dobry Den’, ‘Theresienstadt’, ‘Und der regenrinnt’, ‘Emigrantenlied’ and ‘Ugolebavka’. These pieces were written to describe through music the pain and sufferance of living in the terrible conditions of the Holocaust, and are considered as some of the most significant artistic testimonials of the event.
This Holocaust memorial visit is organised by the Mayor of Rome and Italian Government, as a remembrance of Italian Jews who lost their lives during that genocide, whilst the Conce’rt to the Memory’ events which will take place in both Auschwitz and Krakow are the initiative of the Director of St Cecilia, Maestro Alfredo Santoloci, who has also produced the musical arrangements. Hersi remarks,
I couldn’t imagine that in my life I will have the opportunity to have this experience. I think it will change me.
Then, in great contrast, on 25 October OGAE Italia welcomes Hersi to Prato, where she will be guest of honour at their annual convention and perform at the evening’s party. Those interested in attending the event can contact OGAE Italy via [email protected].
Hersi’s already been back on Italian TV screens this week, appearing on a TG2 news talk show (RAI2 and RAI Italia) discussing life, work and language for the foreign-born population in a feature entitled, “We, the other Italians”. You can watch it on catchup here (from 10:05), including Hersi demonstrating her skills with a quick burst from Puccini’s Turandot (at 23:00).
escXtra wishes Hersi the best for her graduation and performances. Not wishing to rest on her laurels, Hersi will be taking on another two years of study with a new programme at St Cecilia’s, adding jazz training to her classical repertoire. Suksese!
See Hersi performing in both classical mode (Monica’s Waltz from ‘The Medium’) and pop mode (Anjeza Shahini’s ‘Image of You’) below.