Florie Valiquette Soprano, Canada “I want to make beautiful music, share my personal understanding of the pieces I sing and, hopefully, touch the audience and honor my selection” 1) What inspired you to become a singer? I have always been singing as long as I can remember and I began taking voice lessons around 8 years old. At my teacher’s singing school, there was a teenager student that sang Despina’s arias, amongst others. It really impressed me and I asked to sing opera songs also. But playing a character in a troupe while singing in costume on a set for the first time was really a transformative experience! It was for my highschool’s production of the musical “Les Misérables”. I was 14 and I interpreted Cosette. As part of our preparation, we also had the chance to go see the show on Broadway. I remember being very impressed by the quality of the production and by the beautiful voices of the singers. That is what inspired me to become a singer! 2) What’s your dream role and why? At the moment, it is Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. Mozart is one of my favorite composers and I love the sparkling theatrical aspect of this opera, the spontaneity and the humanity of the characters. Susanna is so full of life. She is a very wise and witty woman and an endearing character. I can’t wait to play my first Susanna! 3) Who is your favourite opera singer and why? I admire so many opera singers.... it’s hard to choose just one. At the moment, I really admire Joyce DiDonato. She is such an amazing, intelligent, generous and touching artist on stage. I also admire how she is so close to her fans by being very much active in social media. New technologies now allow us to share our passion for opera directly to the public, whenever and wherever one wants and Joyce and her team are also brilliant ambassadors on that front. I also very much appreciate watching her masterclasses online. 4) What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? I am really excited and honored to be selected for the Queen Sonja International Music Competition! From the competition point, I of course want to make beautiful music with my pianist, share my personal understanding of the pieces I sing and, hopefully, touch the audience and honor my selection. It is also the first time that I come to Norway and I hope that by making music and interacting with those who I will meet there, I will learn a little bit from the Norwegian people who welcome us and add something to my experience that will make me a better artist and ambassador for opera. 5) Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! I am passionate about food! I LOVE food!! I love to cook. For me it’s like meditation. I have been a vegetarian almost all my life, but a few months ago I became vegan. People often think that I can’t eat anything on this lifestyle, but on the contrary, it opened me to a whole new world of delicious recipes and foods that are good for me, the animals and the planet. 6) Is there anything else you would like to tell us, which might be interesting to the public? I love life, traveling, meeting new people and discovering new cultures. I can’t wait to come to Norway and sing for the Norwegian audience!