Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 29 September 2019

Bass-baritone Manuel Fuentes Figueira is grand winner of VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Bass-baritone Manuel Fuentes Figueira is grand winner of VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

• Fuentes Figueira, from Valencia, scored a hat trick by winning first prize, the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall prize for the best singer of Spanish nationality, and the audience prize
• Italian/Venezuelan countertenor Rodrigo Sosa dal Pozzo and Mexican soprano María Caballero took second and third place
• Auditorio Alfredo Kraus hosted the gala show on Saturday 28, when the nine finalists showcased their artistic talents to the audience

Spanish bass-baritone Manuel Fuentes Figueira, from Valencia, was the grand winner of the VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus 2019, taking three of the prizes awarded at the final gala performance held on 28 September in Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The VII CICAK was organised by Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus and Cabildo de Gran Canaria. The 2019 event was especially significant, because it coincided with the 20th anniversary of the death of famous tenor Alfredo Kraus.

Manuel Fuentes Figueira won the highest award, taking the first prize of the VII CICAK, of 14,000 euros, a diploma, and a gold medal. He also received the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall prize of 3,000 euros for the best singer of Spanish nationality, and the audience prize of 2,500 euros, based on spectators’ votes.

Second prize went to Italian/Venezuelan countertenor Rodrigo Sosa dal Pozzo, who received 12,000 euros, a diploma and a silver medal.

Mexican soprano María Caballero won third prize, of 10,000 euros, a diploma and a bronze medal.

The medals for Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus were designed by the tenor’s granddaughter, Gara Martín Kraus.

The participants in the final gala performance were the nine finalists chosen from the 65 candidates in the auditions during the semi-final, held on Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 in Auditorio Alfredo Kraus. In addition to the three prize winners, the performers in the final were soprano Patricia Calvache Rodríguez (Spain), mezzo-soprano Rosanna Cooper (United Kingdom), tenors Gabriel Álvarez (Spain), Vicent Romero (Spain) and Héctor Rodríguez Vera (Cuba), and baritone César Méndez Silvagnoli (USA/Puerto Rico).

The jury of the VII CICAK, comprising Italian soprano Mariella Devia as Chair, theatre directors Daniel Bianco (La Zarzuela Madrid), Pierangelo Conte (MMF, Florence), Lorenzo Amato (San Carlo, Naples), and Manuel Rondal (Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège), with Cesidio Niño (ABAO, Bilbao) and Ulises Jaén (ACO, Las Palms de Gran Canaria) and honorary members Guillermo García-Alcalde and Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo, assessed the vocal and technical qualities of the singers selected after performing their chosen opera and Zarzuela pieces.

Manuel Fuentes Figueira performed the arias Vi ravviso, from Bellini’s La Sonnambula, and Votre toast, from Bizet’s Carmen. Rodrigo Sosa dal Pozzo sang Che farò senza Euridice, from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, and Empio, dirò, tu sei, from Handel’s Giulio Cesare. María Caballero performed In quali eccessi. Mi tradì, from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Tres horas antes del día, from Moreno Torroba’s La Marchenera.

The singers were accompanied by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Óliver Díaz. In addition to the pieces performed by the singers, the orchestra played La vie parisienne, by Jacques Offenbach, in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the composer, and the prelude El niño judío, by Pablo Luna.

The prize giving, which took place after the jury had deliberated, was presided over by the President of Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales, the Chair of Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus and daughter of the tenor, Rosa Kraus, and the Chair of the jury, soprano Mariella Devia. Taking part alongside the rest of the jury, the Councillor for Education from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall, Lourdes Armas, awarded the prize for the best singer of Spanish nationality.

Both Antonio Morales and Rosa Kraus highlighted the competition’s ongoing commitment to the founding principles of Alfredo Kraus, of discovering new opera talent from around the world. They expressed their wish to continue working to uphold and promote the legacy of Gran Canaria’s universally renowned tenor.

They also said that the main challenge is to ensure the success of the project for the headquarters of Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus, to be housed in a renovated building that was once part of the residential home of San Antonio, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s old town, Vegueta.

More than 100 participants and 65 semi-finalists

Applications for the seventh singing competition closed on 20 June with 105 entries from 52 sopranos, 15 mezzo-sopranos, 2 countertenors, 15 tenors, 14 baritones, 4 bass-baritones and 3 basses.

Participating singers were from 31 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United Sates and Venezuela.

On this occasion, 65 singers took part in the semi-final after they were chosen at the preliminary rounds in Florence, Madrid, Naples and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

You can see a complete photo gallery on our official Facebook page.
Final of VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Final of VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Photographs: FIAK / Sabrina Ceballos