III CICAK 1994. Masterclass in Casa de Colón.
The Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus (Alfredo Kraus International Singing Competition), created by tenor Alfredo Kraus, was conceived from the start as a biennial event. First held in May 1990, the Competition continued in 1992, 1994 and 1996, followed by a three-year gap until 1999 after the 1998 event was cancelled due to a family bereavement. In line with Kraus’ wishes, the first five competitions were hosted in the city of his birth, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, backed by the Gran Canaria Island Council, an unfailing supporter of this initiative.
Held on every occasion under the guidance of Alfredo Kraus as Chair, the Competition became a hallmark among international events of its kind, earning international renown not only among conservatories, theatres, auditoriums and orchestras, but also in the context of cultural tourism to Gran Canaria. Other institutions joined the Gran Canaria Island Council and the Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation as collaborators: the Spanish Ministry of Culture – INAEM; the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Directorate General of Cultural and Scientific Relations; the Canary Islands Government – Regional Ministry of Tourism and Transport, Deputy Ministry of Culture and Sports; Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Council; Madrid City Council - Education Department; SOCAEM - Canary Islands International Music Festival; Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation; RTVE Symphonic Orchestra and Choir; SGAE (Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers) – Author Foundation; University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna; Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory, Milan; Queen Sofía School of Music, Madrid; Madrid School of Singing; and the London Royal Opera House. The Competition is sponsored by UNELCO, with the collaboration of IBERIA, the International Federation of Friends of Alfredo Kraus, local firms Domnel and Óptica Jaén, and private benefactors.
From 1990 to 1999 the preliminary rounds were held in Milan, Vienna, New York, London and Madrid, with Las Palmas de Gran Canaria hosting the semi-final and final rounds. Kraus acted as Chair and was joined by jury members who travelled to Gran Canaria, including sopranos Edda Moser, Ingrid Bjoner, Ángeles Gulín, Tatiana Menotti and Marcella De Osma; mezzo-sopranos Christa Ludwig, Fedora Barbieri, Alicia Nafé, Mabel Perestein and María Isabel Torón; tenors Pedro Lavirgen, Juan Oncina and Jesús (Suso) Mariátegui; baritones Sesto Bruscantini and Antonio Blancas; and basses Walter Berry and Antonio Campó.
With the presence of Alfredo Kraus and the added attraction of a competition held in the city of his birth, an average of 85 contestants signed up for the preliminary rounds of the first five competitions. The archives reveal that contestants were of 30 nationalities and entries came from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Russia, the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Japan, China and South Korea.
The competitions held from 1990 to 1999 included two categories: Opera and Lied (including Zarzuela), and Oratorio. The six official prizes (three winners per category) were complemented by special prizes from institutions and private patrons, in addition to the audience prize. The prize-giving took place after the televised concert of the final round with the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, held at Pérez Galdós Theatre from 1990 to 1996 and in the Symphonic Hall of the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium in 1999.