Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 30 September 2017

Gran Canaria unveils three young opera talents at the final of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Gran Canaria unveils three young opera talents at the final of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

• The prize winners of the VI CICAK are baritone Carles Pachón (Spain), tenor Galeano Salas (Mexico/USA) and soprano Leonor Bonilla (Spain), who finished in first, second and third place.
• The jury, chaired by tenor Jaime Aragall, made its selection from among the 11 finalists who performed opera and zarzuela pieces accompanied by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by maestro José Miguel Pérez-Sierra in a gala show held at Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.
• Speaking at the prize giving ceremony, the president of Gran Canaria Cabildo (Island Council), Antonio Morales, and the chair of Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus, Rosa Kraus Ley, thanked the 100 young applicants in this year’s singing competition for taking part.
• The gala show was recorded by Radio Television Canary Islands and will be shown in a delayed broadcast.

Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus and the Gran Canaria Cabildo, organisers of the VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus, have announced that the official jury of the competition, chaired by tenor Jaime Aragall, chose the prize winners from among the 11 finalists who showcased their artistic talents in a public performance on Friday 29 September in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Baritone Carles Pachón (Spain), tenor Galeano Salas (Mexico/USA) and soprano Leonor Bonilla (Spain) took first, second and third place.

The VI CICAK awarded the audience prize to soprano Leonor Bonilla and the prize for the best singer of Spanish nationality, made by Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall, to baritone Carles Pachón.

The president of the Gran Canaria Cabildo, Antonio Morales, and the chair of Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus, Rosa Kraus Ley, spoke at the prize giving ceremony. They thanked the 100 young singers from 22 countries who applied for this year’s competition and called for young opera talents to take part in the seventh biennial event, to be held in 2019. Rosa Kraus highlighted the special significance of the 2019 competition, which will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the death of maestro Alfredo Kraus.

The 11 finalists in the VI CICAK who performed last night in the gala show at the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus were chosen after the preliminary rounds in Madrid, Florence and Gran Canaria. The semi-final round was also held in Gran Canaria and the following singers were chosen as finalists from 47 contestants: Carles Pachón Díaz (Baritone / Spain), Galeano Salas (Tenor / Mexico – USA), Leonor Bonilla Caballos (Soprano / Spain), Natalia Labourdette Alba (Soprano / Spain), Caterina Piva (Mezzo-soprano / Italy), Dongho Kim (Bass-baritone / Republic of Korea), Jasper Ruben Leever (Bass-baritone / The Netherlands), Anna Gomà Curtiella (Mezzo-soprano / Spain), Nina-Maria Fischer (Soprano / Germany-Poland), Marlena Devoe (Soprano / New Zealand) and Blanca Valido Montenegro (Soprano / Spain, Canary Islands).

After the public performance, the jury made its decision during the interval and announced the results in the second half after speeches from public authorities. The jury comprised the chair, tenor Jaime Aragall, and 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; and Ulises Jaén, artistic director of Canary Islands Friends of the Opera. Also contributing but without casting votes were Rosa Kraus Ley, chair of the FIAK and VI CICAK; Mario Pontiggia, artistic director of the FIAK and secretary of the VI CICAK; and honorary members Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo and Guillermo García-Alcalde.

The competition finalists were accompanied by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by maestro José Miguel Pérez-Sierra. The final was recorded and will be transmitted in a delayed broadcast by Radio Televisión Canaria.

Prizes and invitations to perform

The prize winners in the VI Concurso de Canto Alfredo Kraus won substantial monetary prizes thanks to financial assistance from the Gran Canaria Island Council. Three official prizes of 14,000, 12,000 and 10,000 euros were awarded.

Two special prizes were also awarded: 3,000 euros from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall for the best singer of Spanish nationality and the Audience Prize of 2,500 euros for the singer who received most votes from the audience attending the final round.

The prize winners will also receive invitations to perform. The Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra will invite the winner of the first prize to perform with it in one of the following two seasons (2018 or 2019), including travel and accommodation expenses; the Fundación Canaria Auditorio y Teatro de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will invite one of the winners to give a recital in the Chamber Hall of the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, also with expenses paid; and Madrid Royal Theatre, National Zarzuela Theatre, Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, the Opera of Florence, Friends of the Opera of A Coruña and Canary Islands Friends of the Opera will offer auditions for upcoming productions to one or more competition prize winners.

Medals designed by Gara Martín Kraus, the maestro’s granddaughter

In addition to the prize money and a diploma, the first three prize winners received a medal designed by Gara Martín Kraus, granddaughter of maestro Alfredo Kraus.

Gara began her studies in Jewellery and Gemology in Madrid in 1998 and completed them in Florence (Italy) in 2002, qualifying as a professional jewellery designer. She has been chosen to work on new collection projects for Swarovski, taken part in Ego Madrid Fashion Week and won a number of awards. Her collections are inspired by the landscapes, colours, textures and the essence of the Canary Islands. Her pieces transmit the energy and movement of the sea and of lava as it cools, and the colours and the beauty of the islands. These elements were also behind the inspiration for the medals designed as prizes for the VI CICAK.

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Final of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus.

Final of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VI Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Photos by Nacho González