Andrii Kymach Baritone, Ukraine «It was my future wife, who I met in a church choir, who inspired me to start musical studies.» What inspired you to become a singer? I got interested in music rather late, when I was studying philosophy. At that time, I was singing in the church choir as an amateur. It was my future wife, who I met in the choir, who inspired me to start musical studies. She was studying vocal technique, and told me that my voice was unique and had a lot of potential, as few baritones possess such rich colours and huge volume. She didn't see any other way for me to be a singer than to study voice. In 2010, I entered the vocal/choral conducting department at the Kiev National Music Academy. What’s your dream role and why? Frankly I can’t say I have one dream role, as I love Verdi and I dream of singing many of Verdi’s roles such as Rigoletto, Yago and Renato. I think Verdi’s repertoire is very rich and dramatic. It suits my voice best and gives it the best opportunity for developing further. Who is your favourite singer and why? I admire various outstanding baritones such as Ettore Bastianini, Renato Bruson, Leo Nucci and Dmitry Khvorostovsky. I think each of them can teach me something and reveal their vision of music and characters. But apart from baritones there are other voices which I like listening to. I love big dramatic voices of such fantastic singers as Olga Borodina, Gena Dimitrova, Maria Gulegina. And of course the great Luciano Pavarotti! What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? This is a great opportunity to get experience of competing at such a high level. And of course I hope to win the first prize. Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! While studying philosophy at the University I considered my future career in the field of humanitarian work. Thus, I am still very interested in philosophic teachings such as Indian esoteric traditions and the philosophy of Hermitism. This is a special vision of our universe. This interest has a practical impact on my day to day food preferences. I learned to cook according to Indian Ayurveda tradition because I believe that such a diet gives me much more energy.