• After Madrid and Florence, the third preliminary round of the competition organised by the Gran Canaria Cabildo (Island Council) and Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus will be held on 21 and 22 September in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus
• The organisers estimate that 60 contestants will take part in the semi-final on 25 and 26 September; winners in this round will participate in the competition final on 29 September at a performance before a public audience
The Gran Canaria Cabildo and Fundación International Alfredo Kraus, organisers of the VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus 2017, have announced that 100 singers of 22 nationalities applied for the three rounds of the competition, considerably exceeding the number of entries in the five previous events.
Applicants were from Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.
An overview of the preliminary rounds in Madrid and Florence was made by the President of the Gran Canaria Cabildo, Antonio Morales, Councillor for Finance and Presidency, Pedro Justo Brito, Councillor for Culture, Carlos Ruiz, and the Chair of Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus, Rosa Kraus Ley, as they spoke about the participation in the recently held preliminary and semi-final rounds and the final round in September, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Rosa Kraus Ley, daughter of Gran Canarian tenor Alfredo Kraus, said “The sixth competition has surpassed our expectations, considerably exceeding the number of participants in previous years, with 60 candidates for the semi-final, to be held in Gran Canaria. The jury will have a hard task selecting the finalists during the three days of the round in Gran Canaria and will demand a considerable level of excellence from candidates”.
In her opinion, Alfredo Kraus “was unique, like all great artists. His name continues to be internationally renowned, which explains the success of a competition that’s held every two years and hasn’t actually taken place since the fifth event, in 1999.”
Rosa Kraus said the competition was looking for “new voices and new artists, to give a professional boost to their careers. The jury wants candidates who not only sing well, but are capable of expressing themselves as actors on the stage, because opera’s becoming an increasingly comprehensive show”. The monetary prizes for the competition are 14,000, 12,000 and 10,000 euros.
After the selections made in the preliminary round in Madrid, with seven successful applicants, and Florence, with 12, the next stage of the competition will be held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 21 and 22 September in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus. Twenty-eight applicants will take part in the third preliminary round.
All the candidates selected in the preliminary rounds in Madrid, Florence and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will go on to the semi-final, which will also be held in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, on 25 and 26 September. They will be joined by 32 candidates who were finalists in other international competitions. More than 60 young singers are expected to take part in the semi-final.
The semi-final will take place in the Chamber Hall of the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, before a prestigious jury chaired by mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza, with members Joan Matabosch, artistic director of Madrid’s Royal Theatre, Daniel Bianco, artistic director of the National Zarzuela Theatre (Madrid), Ernesto Palacio, artistic director of the Rossini Opera Festival (Pesaro), Pierangelo Conte, artistic coordinator of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino / Opera of Florence, César Wonenburger, artistic director of Friends of the Opera of A Coruña, Ulises Jaén, artistic director of Canary Islands Friends of the Opera, and honorary members Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo and Guillermo García-Alcalde.
On 29 September, the Symphonic Hall of the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus will be the venue for the final round and the prize giving, with a public audience.
Candidates chosen in Florence
For the auditions of the second preliminary round of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus, at the Opera of Florence, 26 singers of seven nationalities applied. After 24 had performed (two stood down due to illness), the judges cast votes from two to nine points and considered applicants with a score of seven or more eligible to enter the semi-final round in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The 12 contestants chosen by the judges were Eunhee Kim (Soprano / South Korea), Tommaso Barea (Bass-baritone / Italy), Eleonora Bellocci, (Soprano / Italy), Hoerim Park (Tenor / South Korea), Benjamin Cho (Baritone / South Korea), Eduardo Pialli (Baritone / Colombia – Italy), Yauci Yanes (Tenor / Spain), Lena Kutzner (Soprano / Germany), Qianming Dou (Baritone / China), Cecilia Gaetani (Mezzo-soprano / Italy), Chiara Mogini (Soprano / Italy) and Manuel Rodríguez Remiro (Tenor / Spain).
The judging panel comprised Rosa Kraus Ley, Chair of Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus, and Mario Pontiggia, artistic director of the competition, and from the Opera of Florence, maestro Gianni Tangucci, coordinator of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Academy, and Giovanni Vitali, head of cultural promotion. The judges were joined by Laura Kraus Ley, member of the Alfredo Kraus Foundation.
During the first day of auditions, Rosa and Laura Kraus Ley were received by the intendant of the Opera of Florence, Cristiano Chiarot, with whom they reminisced about the artistic links of Alfredo Kraus with the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Theatre: two tours to Spain in 1961, 19 productions starting in 1962 and four recitals, the last in 1996.
They also had the chance to learn about the project to recover the sound recordings of historic evenings by Alfredo Kraus at Teatro Comunale, such as Werther and Lucrezia Borgia, which Maggio Musicale is retrieving from its historic archive to make available to today’s public.
Intendant Chiarot, a great admirer of Kraus, indicated his firm intention of collaborating with Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus by providing Maggio Musicale archive material about the tenor and raising interest among other Italian theatres where Kraus performed, including Milan, Venice, Parma, Naples and Palermo.
Candidates chosen in Madrid
The first preliminary round of VI CICAK 2017 was held on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 June in the theatre at the Madrid School of Singing, with 16 applicants of five nationalities taking part.
The seven contestants chosen by the judging panel were sopranos Berna Perles, Blanca Valido, María del Alba Moreno Chantar and Anna Niebla Guarinos from Spain and Olena Sloia from Ukraine; and mezzo-sopranos Olga Syniakova from Ukraine and Elizabeth Gillming from France.The judging panel comprised Rosa Kraus Ley and Mario Pontiggia, plus the director of the Madrid School of Singing, Julio Alexis Muñoz, and the School’s deputy director, Sara Matarranz. After hearing the applicants and casting votes from two to nine points, the judges considered those with a score of seven or more eligible to enter the semi-final round in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.