James Edgar Knight Tenor, Australia "To bare your soul onstage and sing unamplified into a theater over an orchestra is one of the most special and unique of all art forms." What inspired you to become a singer? Richard Strauss once said, “the human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but it is the most difficult to play”. In my opinion, being an opera singer is the most challenging and rewarding pursuit in music. To bare your soul onstage and sing unamplified into a theater over an orchestra is one of the most special and unique of all art forms. When I discovered that I had a voice, a unique instrument, I knew that my life couldn’t go any other way. It became my passion and responsibility to bring my gift to fruition in order to effectively perform the music and poetry of the great operatic masters. What’s your dream role and why? The title role in Verdi’s Otello. This opera is the pinnacle of the Italian repertoire; it’s a stunningly beautiful and complex piece of theater and the role of Otello is a character that I hope to be able to do justice in the future. It’s my dream to follow in the footsteps of the great tenors who sang the role in the past such as Ramón Vinay, Mario Del Monaco, Jon Vickers, and Plácido Domingo. Who is your favourite singer and why? Enrico Caruso, the Godfather of all tenors. Caruso was an enigmatic figure in the history of our art form. He had an incredibly unique voice that was captured during a handful of primitive recording sessions in the early years of the 20th Century when the technology was in its naissance. Like most of the great tenors of the last 100 years, I fastidiously study all of his recordings for inspiration in technique and interpretation. What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? Like all participants in a competition, I’m hoping for success. However, I also hope to use the platform as an opportunity to introduce myself to an international audience and take the next steps in my career. Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! I’ve lived on 3 continents and own a French Bulldog named Tosca. Not to mention: I once got out of a speeding ticket by singing an aria for the judge in a court room in California. What kind of demands do you believe the future’s opera singers must fulfill to make a career? In today’s modern world, there are several demands that opera singers need to fulfill. The first is to drive engagement of the new generation of potential opera lovers by fully leveraging social media. My favourite platform is Instagram because it allows me to connect with my family, friends, and fans all over the world by sharing pictures and videos of my operatic adventures – please follow me @jamesedgarknight. The second demand is the constant pursuit of technical excellence in the tradition of the great singers of the past. In order for our art form to survive and flourish into the future, we will require respect and appreciation of our shared history and the artistic legacy of those that came before us. Above all else, the most important attribute that a singer must have is authenticity. Singing is an extremely personal art and it is crucial that every singer is able to connect to their emotions with honesty and sing from the heart. Only then can an audience be truly moved by a performance. Bravo!