Skip to main content

New horizons for today's Semi-Finalists

11 May 2009 at 14:47 CEST

While some of the participants of the first Semi-Final are used to performances like the one of the Eurovision Song Contest, others are new to the pop stage. A number of the tonight's contestants are veterans in music, but nevertheless they get a new experience tonight. Sweden's Malena Ernman, starting a number five tonight with the pop opera La Voix, is one of the most sought-after opera singers in the world, with worldwide fame as a mezzo-soprano singer. She is used to big performances, but still holds tonight's task as a special one.

“The difference here is that the show is so huge, and there are million of people watching it,” Malena tells “But I'm just as nervous when I do live performances of opera.”

Leaves the contest

Because of her profession as an opera singer, Malena has had to journey back and forth from Moscow several times during the rehearsals for performances at other venues at locations across Europe.

“It's frustrating and tiring,” she says. “I want to be here all the time, but I was contracted long ago for these things, and they would sue me if I canceled them. I only managed to cancel one two of them in Stockholm.”

For Malena, the performance with La Voix was intended as a one-time visit to the pop world. But her song became a major success in her home country, and now the demand has made her agree on recording a pop opera album. However, she still considers this to me a side-track and not a career-step.

“It's a fun side-track that gives me a new kind of audience. Many people I've met has started too enjoy opera after hearing La Voix.”

Malena's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest was unexpected for everyone. When being announced the winner of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national selection, she was astounded. Now, she is uncertain as to what she wants to achieve with competing.

“I don''t know. Perhaps just awareness of another side of music. Insight of how we work here and how different it is here from where I do my usual work.”

A school for life

No matter what, Malena Ernman is certainly learning from the experience of the Eurovision Song Contest. And she is not the only one. The band Regina, representing Bosnia and Herzegovina, are considering themselves as a pop/rock band, quite unaccustomed to the stage of the show. The singer Davor Ebner is amused by the thought.

“This is a school for life,” he says. “I think that our performance will be great – I've heard that we're among the favorites, so maybe we will hegiaave a chance for the first place.”