What inspired you to become a singer?
I was born into a musical family; my grandparents worked together as singers and my mother is a pianist and has also worked as an opera singer. I have been inspired by classical music since the day I was born but began singing folk music. When I was six, I sang for the first time with a folk music orchestra. That was the start of my singing career. I toured Italy, Bulgaria, Malta and Hungary and won many different competitions for children around the world. When I was twelve, my voice changed and I started singing classic music. My mother worked at an opera theatre, so I grew up among theatrical scenery and costumes. I knew from that moment I was going to be a singer.
What’s your dream role and why?
There are so many. I want to sing Ermione by Rossini, because I love that piece, and I am really into Greek mythology. Carmen by Bizet is the most popular mezzo role with incredible music and dramaturgy. Werther by Massenet is both a beautiful and sad love story. Lastly, Salome by Strauss for the incredibly beautiful music and the challenge of singing and dancing at the same time.
Who is your favourite signer and why?
My mother. She sang for me when I was little and couldn’t sleep. Her voice has been with me my entire life and to me she has the most beautiful voice in the world. Otherwise I listen to Joyce di Donato, Mariella Devia, Jennifer Larmore, Susan Graham and many, many more talented singers.
What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition?
I hope to win and show what I can do. This is a great opportunity for young opera singers to present themselves at the highest level.
Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself!
I love to dance and I won first place at a salsa competition in Tromsø. It was really fun! I dream about one day participating in Strictly Come Dancing. I like to paint and design my own concert dresses, as well as evening dresses. I play the piano and I love books!
Is there anything else you would like to tell us, which might be interesting to the public?
I am from Vadsø in Finnmark and I carry a very dramatic family history, characterized by dissolution and tragedy. My family is Norwegian though I was born and raised in Russia. My great-grandfather was executed by Stalin’s henchmen in the 1930s. My great-grandmother was forced to move and deprived of everything she owned. My grandmother grew up as the daughter of an “enemy of the people,” prone to mockery.
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation has made a film about our story called Lilly's Song [in Norwegian].