Vera Talerko Soprano, Latvia "This is a fantastic opportunity for self-improvement, for new connections and for finding new friends." What inspired you to become a singer? I have been singing since I could think. I never actually thought that singing and music in itself could be profession, which is why I have always gone to schools with extra mathematics and physics. However, after graduating twelfth grade with very good marks, I understood that I could not see myself anywhere else: Music is my life – music is my passion. What’s your dream role and why? My dream role is Manon by Massenet, because I think it will fit my character and voice perfectly. This is not only for a high soprano, but a role which is transforming throughout the show. Just like Musetta in La Boheme; at first she is easy going and silly, but step by step she shares of her deep personality. I love challenges especially in acting. Who is your favourite singer and why? Up until my work in at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet in Oslo, Natalie Dessay was one of my favorite singers, for her very clean but at the same time deep voice and wonderful acting. But while living in Norway, I met many fantastic performers who are also very talented: Marita Solberg and Tone Våga Kummervold. They have a different type of voice, but they are incredible on stage! What do you hope to achieve by participating in The Queen Sonja International Music Competition? This is a fantastic opportunity for self-improvement, for new connections and for finding new friends. Tell us something surprising or unexpected about yourself! Two years ago I won the audience prize in the Queen Sonja Music Competition! The requirement was to post any photo on Instagram with a QSIMC-hashtag – and I won! I was then able to take my friend to Copenhagen to see the prizewinner concerts, and we were so happy. I felt as I was a part of this competition and I decided that I should definitely try to participate myself. What kind of demands do you believe the future’s opera singers must fulfill to make a career? Opera singers should be very intelligent, nice persons who sing beautifully. You should be a superhero who never gets tired or sick.