Katharina Ruckgaber Soprano, Germany "My favourite singers all make me forget that singing is an extreme effort." What inspired you to become a singer? When I was 13 I was given a free ticket to an opera performance at Bayerische Staatsoper in München. There are probably more accessible operas than Händel’s Rodelinda for your first ever encounter with opera, but I was still totally overwhelmed by the intensity of that evening. Since I always loved singing, acting on stage, dressing up and entertaining people, I suddenly realized that in opera it all comes together. One week after my theater visit I attended my very first voice lesson. What`s your dream role and why? I was very lucky to debut in one of my absolute dream roles at short notice, whilst I was still a young member of the opera studio: Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Frankfurt Opera. I love to play this very clever, inventive and complex character on stage. This season I was very happy to play Mélisande for the first time, another fascinating and mysterious lady I always hoped to sing. In the future I hope to sing Anne Truelove/Sophie. Who is your favourite singer and why? Impossible for me to pick one. Every singer I admire has something special and unique, something incomparable. However, my favourites all make me forget that singing is an extreme effort and wow me with their presence on stage. Some names are: Diana Damrau, Miah Persson, Anna Netrebko, Dimitry Hvorostovsky and Bryn Terfel. What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? By participating I hope to meet a lot of different, interesting people: intendants, casting directors, conductors, agents and colleagues from all over the world. Such a prestigious competition is a really great possiblity to exchange experiences, learn and present new repertoire, and spark new opportunities for your further career. Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! In my free time I love going to the football stadium. An operatic voice is quite helpful when it comes to cheering on your team. Besides keeping my vocal chords well hydrated I am generally quite addicted to water, so whenever I can I go for a short trip with a friend’s sailing boat. I also love eating, trying out new restaurants as well as cooking myself. When I have to travel for work I am a series junkie: Breaking Bad, House of Cards, and lately great Scandinavian crime series such as Forbrydelsen and Broen, with the wonderful female investigators Sara Lund and Saga Noren. What kind of demands do you believe the future's opera singers must fulfill to make a career? Besides a great technique which we constantly need to improve, we need to be very dedicated and full of passion for what we do. This profession generally requires a lot of discipline and devotion. Nowadays "just singing" is no longer enough: We need to be actors, athletes and globetrotters. But most importantly we need to live life and experience it to the fullest. How else should we be able to tell interesting stories on stage?