Serena Sáenz Molinero Soprano, Spain "I would like to embody strong female characters such as Lucia di Lammermoor, Manon and Violetta." What inspired you to become a singer? I started singing in the children's choir of Palau de la Musica in Barcelona. The choir life was such an inspirational experience and being able to perform in this wonderful hall, Palau de la Musica, since I was 12 years old was a real privilege. A hobby for two evenings a week, turned into a 24-hour profession. What’s your dream role and why? I would like to embody strong female characters such as Lucia di Lammermoor, Manon and Violetta. Three non-stopable women that has fascinated me ever since I discovered them. Vocally exigent but so demanding emotionally; a real challenge to integrate the complexity of the character’s most inner emotions with the delicate vocal line. Who is your favourite singer and why? Beyonce definitely! I admire this woman, she has such a powerful energy on stage, her live performances are totally insane! I believe she is the real diva, an inspiration for being flawless, confident, feminine and empowering women at the same time. I hope opera singers can make such an impact one day. What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? Exposing myself to an international audience is a challenge, but I am most looking forward to sharing this week with new colleagues and learn from the overall experience. Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! I am a windsurfer! I absolutely love being in the water. Sailing and windsurfing have been my passions since I was very little, as I grew up next to the sea. What kind of demands do you believe the future’s opera singers must fulfill to make a career? Health, stamina, good endurance for stage performance, versatility and a positive charisma. Is there anything else you would like to tell us, which might be interesting to the public? Awareness on the importance of singers taking care of their own bodies. Without good health we cannot perform! I have recently become a fitness trainer and a nutritional coach. I have created OperaFit, a program were I adapted my training routines to upgrade my performance level, focusing on the breathing and taking real care of my nutrition. I am still learning to treat my body the way it deserves.