Ruslana Koval Soprano, Ukraine «I love what I do on stage but sometimes after a performance I need to shift to something different to recharge my batteries. So, I get into my car, go to a motorway and drive at a high speed». What inspired you to become a singer? I was eight when I first heard a recording of the Turkish pop singer Sertab Erener. The last composition on the CD impressed me so much that I started trying to reproduce it as best I could. She was performing that one quite differently from the other tunes as a vocalist and only later, I learnt it was the Queen of the Night’s aria. At that time, I was studying the violin at music school, so my elder sister asked my violin teacher to look at my vocal abilities. We started developing my vocal potential and very soon I realised that I loved singing much more than playing the violin. What’s your dream role and why? I would say my dream role is the Queen of the Night [in Mozart's The Magic Flute]. My vocal life and my love for the opera started with this music. Who is your favourite singer and why? Difficult to say. The world of opera is huge and there are so many outstanding singers who I admire. Something strikes you in one singer, then something else in another. However, if I have to name one, it would be Joan Sutherland. She is a perfect combination of style and technique. What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? I’m looking forward to meeting new interesting people from the world of opera and having an exciting experience. Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! I love what I do on stage but sometimes after a performance I need to shift to something different to recharge my batteries. So, I get into my car, go to a motorway and drive at a high speed. Then I get back to normal life. Is there anything else you would like to tell us, which might be interesting to the public? I first came to Norway in January 2015 with a team from the Boshoi Theater. We performed Le Nozze di Figaro as a concert version in Tromsø. I fell in love with this country at first sight. I loved everything, the friendly people, wonderful nature, architecture and landscapes, and fantastic food. But why on the earth does everything have to be so expensive?!