Anne-Fleur Werner Soprano, Germany “To stand a chance as an opera singer you have to get to truly know yourself, and believe in your raw and imperfect features.” What inspired you to become a singer? Mozart’s opera Die Zauberflöte when I was 9 years old, and my first encounter with the magical voice of Maria Callas shortly after. That’s when I first heard real human pain and sorrow through singing. I have never really forgotten these first moments of pure astonishment when I first heard her voice. What’s your dream role and why? This varies, but I would love to sing Strauss-roles such as Arabella, die Marschallin and especially Salome at a later point. I like Korngold’s music and would love to sing Marietta and also Heliane. I am fascinated by broken and shattered personalities, which are still strong, so Medea by Cherubini is quite the enticement. Who is your favourite singer and why? Maria Callas. Her voice is transparent in terms of showing her own character with all its flaws and vulnerabilities. It was not necessarily a pretty and perfect voice, but that is what makes it human and therefore so much more perfect. What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? To present myself to a wider audience and also a jury of top calibre. You normally do not get that many acclaimed people to sit in one room! Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! I nearly stopped singing when I was 23 years old. I moved to New Zealand and worked on the filming location of The Hobbit in 2011. Getting out of my comfort zone made me realize once again how strongly I still wanted to pursue a career in opera. Anything else? I strongly believe in giving back to society and to always keep your heart open for the sorrows of others. I am a supporting member of the Mully Children‘s Family in Kenya and other countries in Africa. What kind of demands do you believe the future’s opera singers must fulfill to make a career? Never! Ever! Give! Up! There are a thousand obstacles arising as soon as you even think of earning your living by singing opera. To stand a chance as an opera singer, get to know yourself and believe in your raw and imperfect features, because they will mark you out in that airbrushed majority.