Talents of Amman: Dima Bawab
Born in Jordan, Dima began studying music at the age of only four years old and studied piano and dance at the King Hussein National Conservatory in Amman. She studied singing at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris, from where she graduated in 2007 with dinstinction. Since then, Dima has worked all over the World in a huge variety of répertoire. She made her début at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in the rôle of Yniold in Pelléas et Mélisande, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner and directed by Stéphane Braunschweig.
Dima, tell us from the very beginning how did you get into this industry?
I was immersed in the classical world at the age of 3 when I joined a ballet troupe in Amman. Soon after I started piano lessons and a few years later I took up the French horn, an instrument that gave me the opportunity to join the National Music Conservatory Orchestra. Singing came last, I auditioned for "West Side Story" at my school when I was 15 and was given a main role! My love for the stage came instantly and lucky was I to have amazing teachers who guided me in the right direction! But the people I am most thankful for are my parents and my brother for having believed in me and for their continuous support.
How do you find the music scene in Amman and Jordan – has it changed?
It definitely has! And in many ways, some not as positive as others. I remember the days spent at the NMC, having so many friends pursuing advanced musical studies, touring with the National Orchestra; Today unfortunately, the lack of public support has drowned the orchestra and has seen a fewer number of talented kids going into music. (Habibi mention the lack of managerial expertise which helps sustain the business rather than lack of public support, seeing they are getting support from the private sector) On the other hand, I notice the growing numbers of classical concert goers. This only comes to show that the jordanian public is still there and more supportive than ever. I truly hope that the crisis ends soon and that we can see our orchestra flourish again.
Where have you performed? How did fans interact with you differently at performances in different countries?
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I have been almost everywhere. I joined the theatre company directed by Peter Brook, a world renowned director back in 2010 for his version of Mozart's Magic Flute. After having performed for 2 continuous months in Paris at the Théatre des Bouffes du Nord, I embarked on a world tour that took me through Europe, North America (namely New York for the Lincoln Festival), South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chili, Uruguay and Mexico), Asia (Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea) and Australia. People's reactions differed from one place to the other, culturally speaking, what we find humorous might not be in a different culture and vise versa, this added to my excitement of performing in so many different places! As for the fans, I had the most astonishing encounter with Japanese audience members who had waited for me after the show to sign concert programs of performances they had attended for me in Europe!!
Did you receive support from your Jordanian fans?
Always have! I am forever grateful for that! Which makes me want to come back home and perform as often as possible!!
Where is your favorite hang out in Amman?
If i'm not sitting in my garden reading a book, I'd probably be out having a chilled coffee at the new Coffee Bean Abdoun.
Who is your favorite Jordanian and foreign talent?
I have immense respect to all those courageous Jordanians who have pursued a career in the arts, as for my opera idol, I would have to say Paticia Petibon, not only do I relate to her voice and petiteness, I tremendously enjoy the originality she introduces to every new role she undertakes!
Do you think one can have a solid career in Jordan in music?
I would say YES! From what I see every time I go back home, I witness the growth of the arts community!
You live abroad, how has this shaped your music career?
I was provided with the best musical education I could have ever aspired for. I was introduced to key personalities in my field and met and sang with wonderful musicians all over the world. This has also shaped my personality and has reinforced my arab identity, being often asked about my origins, I find myself talking about and promoting Jordan and Palestine quite a lot, which also makes me miss my friends and family back home. I can't have it all now can i!
Who is your mentor?
My mother and father, beyond their many differences they have taught me the best lessons in life, tolerance and perseverance
What is your advice to young talents wanting a career in music?
Practice practice, and more practice! Oh, and be happy knowing that you have something unique to share with the world!
Where is your ultimate dream location to perform?
I have performed there before but I would still want to perform there over and over again: Jerash!