Anais Mejias Soprano, Puerto Rico «I love dancing salsa, playing Magic: The Gathering and watching anime and worldwide cinema, so you could say I’m quite geeky.» What inspired you to become a singer? Initially my dream was to become a ballerina. I studied ballet from when I was three years old but when I was 11, I suffered a knee injury that forced me to give up. The ballet music has always been an important factor in my life, it really made me feel happy and alive so I decided to start singing in a choir. From there I had my first experience with opera, seeing Turandot. When the tenor finished singing Nessun Dorma, I immediately decided to do everything in my power to be on stage and inspire people in the same way that performance inspired me. What’s your dream role and why? If I had to choose only one it would be Violetta in La Traviata. I also have a slightly pretentious dream of singing at least once in one of the soprano roles in all of Verdi’s opera. If I start with Gilda and Nannetta now, maybe I’ll manage it by the time I’m 50! Who is your favourite singer and why? This is harder than deciding my dream role, but I will have to say Maria Callas. She was a great artist and a very strong woman who overcome many difficulties in her life. She has taught me that we serve the composer and the character we portray, which in a sense is denying the myth that we singers are egocentric. Our relationship with the audience, the composer and surroundings are symbiotic. This helps us erase barriers and make people happy. As a matter of technique she worked very hard to perfect belcanto, meanwhile she played with fire giving certain colours to her voice and bring realism to the music. This might have been the reason why she lost her voice in the end, but more importantly, the selflessness she brought to the stage is what made her the most memorable soprano. What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? I hope and believe that this will be a great platform to present myself on an international scale and show myself to people who can be interested in hiring me in the future. I’m also very excited to meet my fellow competitors whom I’m sure will become colleagues, hopefully in the near future. Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! I’m not a stereotypical opera singer. Other than classical music in all its forms, I love all sorts of different music. I like rock, especially metal, Björk, Latin music, K-Pop and musicals. I also love dancing salsa, playing Magic: The Gathering and watching anime and worldwide cinema, so you could say I’m quite geeky. I’m a nerd and I love philosophy and feminism studies. Is there anything else you would like to tell us, which might be interesting to the public? To have the opportunity to participate in the Queen Sonja International Music Competition is a great honour and a dream come true. I’m from Puerto Rico, a very small island in the Caribbean, and I think this is the first time someone from my country competes in this prestigious competition. It's very overwhelming and exciting, and I’m very grateful. I’ve been preparing all my life for a chance like this, and I hope with all my heart that I can move people with my performance.