Slavka Zamecnikova Soprano, Slovakia «I went from wanting to become a doctor to wanting to put everything I had into learning and growing as a classical singer.» What inspired you to become a singer? There are no musicians in my family, so I wasn’t surrounded by music at home as I was growing up. At the age of six I started to take singing and piano lessons. Fortunately I had an amazing voice teacher who inspired me to become a singer and, thanks to her, I absolutely fell in love with classical music. The first opera I saw was Smetanas The Bartered Bride. It touched me so much that I immediately interrupted my studies at the Grammar school and applied for studies at the Conservatorium. I went from wanting to become a doctor to wanting to put everything I had into learning and growing as a classical singer. What’s your dream role and why? It changes every year, depending on my vocal development. But the two that remain at the top of my list, due to being the most special in my mind, are Juliette and Violetta Valéry. Both of those roles require such stamina and are truly both a marathon. Thinking about possibly singing those roles someday gives me such motivation to further my abilities in every way. Who is your favorite singer and why? There are many opera singers whom I admire that motivate and inspire me with their accuracy and dedication to the character. To name a few - Diana Damrau, Lucia Popp, Anna Moffo, and Mirella Freni. The first opera singer I ever heard was Anna Netrebko and for some reason she remains my top favorite. Perhaps because she introduced me to the beauty of opera. She is an incredible artist with amazing vocal ability and really extraordinary charisma that make her, in my mind, a stage animal. What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? I think this is a great opportunity for young singers to be heard by a professional jury and to find important contacts for the future. I am also excited to meet new talented colleagues and to confront the stressful situations that surround such a competition. Putting oneself in as many of these situations as possible is the best preparation for the future as a singer and it makes us grow as artists. I am also looking forward to be able to sing in Norway for the first time! Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! I am a nature and animal lover! I also enjoy sewing my concert dress, planting flowers on my balcony, painting walls in my flat (I even built my own room in our house brick by brick), and many other (un)typical activities. Doing these casual things gives me the energy to sink into my music with my entire soul and attention. Is there anything else you would like to tell us, which might be interesting to the public? I have been accepted to the Opera Studio of Berlin State Opera, where I will start in September. My first role will be the First Lady in Mozart's The Magic Flute. Next season I am also making my debut in Prague National Theater as Sofie (Werther). I am very excited for these coming challenges!