Galeano Salas Tenor, Mexico «I love eating hot sauce. I put it on a lot of things you wouldn't expect and keep a steady supply of it in the pantry.» What inspired you to become a singer? I don't really have a glamorous answer. I stumbled upon it and loved it from the moment I started. My mother always thought I had a knack for performing so when I was 17 she encouraged me to audition for a children's production of The Mikado. I remember being so unprepared. There was a dance call, a cold reading and of course a singing portion. I didn't know you had to prepare a song, so I improvised and sang happy birthday to a girl named Alex who was also auditioning that day. A week later I got a call and was offered the title role, a bass part (I'm a tenor now). I accepted the offer and that was my first time performing for anybody. I loved how it felt to be an entertainer and connect with an audience. How I got from a children's production of The Mikado to The Queen Sonja International Music Competition is a whole other story, but this marked the beginning of my journey in the arts. What’s your dream role and why? I think I'm one of the lucky few who have already gotten to sing their dream role. For me, it's Mario Ruoppolo in Il Postino by Daniel Catán. I had the honor of preparing the role with the composer himself. On opening night, Mr. Catán was supposed to be in the audience, but never made it. I learned later that night, that Catán had passed away peacefully in his sleep a few hours before the show. There is no other way to describe my experience performing that night other than that it felt somehow transcendent. It was one of those rare performances where a performer actually becomes the character. I don't think I could have performed that way without Catán's spirit guiding me that night. It's for evenings like these that we do what we do. I would love to perform this role again. It's written in Spanish by a fabulous Mexican composer and I feel fortunate to have been exposed to him and his music early in my operatic career. I feel like that music should continue to be performed and I will do my part in trying to promote it if given the opportunity. Who is your favorite singer and why? This is tough. One of my favourite clips is of Giuseppe Giacomini singing "Ch'ella mi credo." If you haven't seen it, you need to. It completely blows you away. I also love Placido Domingo's recording of 'Fra poco a me ricovero' at 28. It’s the best I've ever heard. Aureliano Pertile singing 'Non piangere Liú' is very touching. Vladimir Galouzine in Pique Dame, Neil Shicoff in La Juive, Franco Corelli in Turandot...There are so many favourites I could go on forever! What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? I want to be heard, as I'm new to Europe and new to the European competition scene. This is a great performance opportunity with a ton of exposure and I'd love to leave a mark in this year's competition. I'm also excited to meet and hear my fellow competitors and make some new friends from around the world. Tell us something surprising and unexpected about yourself? I have a big obsession with organizing things that encompasses everything from my aria books to my closet. But can you ever be too organized? My wife says, 'YES!' I also love eating hot sauce. I put it on a lot of things you wouldn't expect and keep a steady supply of it in the pantry. When people come to visit us from abroad, I make sure to ask them for a bottle of hot sauce. We love living in Germany and they do a lot of things really well here, but hot sauce is not one of them!