1) What inspired you to become a singer?
I had an unusual journey to music. I saw my first opera about 4 years ago, when I was at the age of 28. I grew up in Ukraine, and due to various economic reasons, for the first half of my life I was pursuing a career in finance (as a matter of fact I worked with PwC - PriceWaterhouseCoopers - for about 8 years, till September 2014). Once back in Ukraine, at age of about 15, I visited a voice teacher and she told me that no one would want to listen to such a voice. That was it for the time being.
When I came to Chicago for work (in 2010) - I met with bass-baritone Marc Embree, with whom I started taking classes - just for fun first, but then I got to love the art form. He was the first one who told me I can sing, and inspired me to explore my voice. I was very happy - as I always loved music, but mostly as part of the audience - and this opportunity to make music myself was an incredible chance.
2) What’s your dream role and why?
One day I'd love to sing Rigoletto. It is probably years away, but this role is incredibly musical, offers so much in the sense of drama, and is a breathtaking journey for a character.
3) Who is your favourite opera singer and why?
Ettore Bastianini. Because of incredible musicality, and unique quality of the voice. I also hope to repeat his journey, by switching from bass-baritone to baritone - which is a work in progress.
4) What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition?
I think - maybe because I've started singing quite late, I do still have this feeling - that every opportunity to sing, is a good enough reason in itself to do it. I enjoy it tremendously. Of course - getting an agent, a career - all this important, but I believe things come to us in the right time if we do the right things. I also want to show many people, that if you are a late starter - it is still possible to work and get what you are dreaming of. Maybe someone in the audience, who always dreamed of music - but thought he missed his chance, - would have his first lesson on the day following the competition? :)
5) Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself!
Apart from accounting, in 2008 I was a Salsa dance champion of Ukraine.
6) Is there anything else you would like to tell us, which might be interesting to the public?
I feel I already wrote too much - just wishing for everyone in the Competition to enjoy the process and the beautiful city of Oslo!