History

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 a cancellation in 1998 due to a bereavement in the tenor’s family. In line with Alfredo Kraus’ wishes, the first five competitions were hosted in the city of his birth, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with the support and sponsorship of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria (Gran Canaria Island Council), an unfailing supporter of this initiative. During this phase, the competition was organised by the Fundación Orquesta Filarmónica (Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation).

For the nine years the competition was held under the guidance of Alfredo Kraus as Chair, the CICAK became a hallmark among international events of its kind, earning global recognition not only among conservatories, theatres, auditoriums and orchestras, but also in the context of cultural tourism to Gran Canaria. Other institutions joined the Cabildo de Gran Canaria and the Fundación Orquesta Filarmónica as collaborators: Spanish Ministry of Culture (INAEM); Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Directorate General of Cultural and Scientific Relations; 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; RTVE Symphonic Orchestra and Choir; SGAE – Spanish General Society of Authors and Publishers; University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna; Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory, Milan; Queen Sofía School of Music, Madrid; Higher School of Singing, Madrid; and Royal Opera House of London. 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. Alfredo Kraus acted as Chair and was joined by jury members who were invited 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 the CICAK being held in the city of his birth, an average of 85 applicants signed up for the preliminary rounds of the first five competitions. The competition archives show that applicants were of 30 nationalities, 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 five competitions from 1990 to 1999 included the categories of Opera and Zarzuela and Lied and Oratorio. The original six official prizes (three winners in each category) were complemented by special prizes from public 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. From 1990 to 1996, the final was held in the Pérez Galdós Theatre. After the opening of the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, the 1999 competition was held in the Symphonic Hall of the auditorium.

In 2017, 18 years after the death of the Gran Canarian tenor, the FIAK (the foundation responsible for preserving his legacy) and the Cabildo de Gran Canaria revived the CICAK, ensuring its continuity. 

That year, the Jury of the VI CICAK was chaired by Spanish tenor Jaume Aragall. Eleven finalists from a total of 105 applicants of 22 nationalities performed at the final in a public concert in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. On this occasion, the prize winners were baritone Carles Pachón (Spain / 1st prize and Prize for the best singer of Spanish nationality), tenor Galeano Salas (Mexico – USA / 2nd prize) and soprano Leonor Bonilla (Spain / 3rd prize and Audience prize).

In 2019, the jury of the VII CICAK was chaired by Italian soprano Mariella Devia. After starting with 110 applicants of 31 nationalities, the final performance included nine finalists in a public concert in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus. The jury prizes were awarded to bass-baritone Manuel Fuentes Figueira (Spain / 1st prize, Prize for the best singer of Spanish nationality and Audience prize), countertenor Rodrigo Sosa dal Pozo (Venezuela – Italy / 2nd prize), and soprano María Caballero (Mexico / 3rd prize).

Previous competitions

II CICAK 1992 - Teatro Pérez Galdós

II CICAK 1992 - Teatro Pérez Galdós

III CICAK 1994 Clase Magistral Casa de Colón

III CICAK 1994. Masterclass in Casa de Colón.

III CICAK 1994. Rueda de prensa.

III CICAK 1994. Press conference.

III CICAK 1994. Rueda de prensa.

III CICAK 1994. Press conference.

III CICAK 1994. Teatro Pérez Galdós

III CICAK 1994. Teatro Pérez Galdós.

IV CICAK 1996. Teatro Pérez Galdós.

IV CICAK 1996. Teatro Pérez Galdós.

IV CICAK 1996. Teatro Pérez Galdós.

IV CICAK 1996. Teatro Pérez Galdós.

VI CICAK 2017.Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.

VI CICAK 2017. Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.

VI CICAK 2017.Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.

VI CICAK 2017. Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.

VII CICAK 2019.Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.

VII CICAK 2019. Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.

VII CICAK 2019.Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.

VII CICAK 2019. Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.