• This Saturday, Auditorio Alfredo Kraus is hosting the gala show, where the nine finalists will showcase their artistic talents to the audience
• The jury is chaired by Italian soprano Mariella Devia
• More than 60 singers took part in the semi-finals, after the rounds in Florence, Madrid, Naples and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria will once be the focal point of young opera talent with the holding of the final gala performance of the VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus, an initiative led by Cabildo de Gran Canaria and Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus to discover opera and Zarzuela singers. This year the singing competition is taking place at a special time, coinciding with acts commemorating the 20th anniversary of the death of Gran Canaria’s famous tenor.
The nine finalists (two sopranos, a mezzo-soprano, a countertenor, three tenors, a baritone and a bass-baritone) will showcase their artistic talents to the audience in a gala show at Auditorio Alfredo Kraus this Saturday at 8.00 pm, with a performance by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Óliver Díaz. The prize winners will be announced at the event, in which the participants are from Venezuela, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, the United States and Cuba.
The President of the Cabildo, Antonio Morales, the Chair of Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus and of the competition, Rosa Kraus, and the members of the official jury, chaired by Italian soprano Mariella Devia, gave an account of the auditions and explained the details of the gala show designed by the Artistic Director of the foundation and the competition, Mario Pontiggia.
In addition to Devia, the members of the jury are Daniel Bianco (Director, Teatro de La Zarzuela, Madrid), Pierangelo Conte (Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Florence), Lorenzo Amato (Teatro di San Carlo, Naples), Manuel Rondal (Ópera Royal de Wallonie-Liège), Cesidio Niño (ABAO, Bilbao), Ulises Jaén (ACO, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria), and Guillermo García-Alcalde and Jerónimo Saavedra (honorary members with voting rights), alongside Rosa Kraus as Chair and Mario Pontiggia as Artistic Director and Secretary.
An exceptional jury Chair
The jury will be chaired by Italian soprano Mariella Devia, an almost legendary figure in international opera, who identifies with Kraus not only in her perception of singing, but also in her choice of repertoire and extensive professional career. In honour of Alfredo Kraus, Devia has agreed to act as chair in a singing competition for the first time.
A highly acclaimed artist at the world’s major theatres, Devia has ample experience teaching younger generations. Devia was invited to Gran Canaria for the Concert in Tribute to Alfredo Kraus in 2016, where she performed pieces she had sung with Kraus in Oviedo, Rome and New York, a veritable shrine of bel canto.
Prizes and invitations to perform
On Saturday three official prizes of 14,000, 12,000 and 10,000 euros will be awarded. In addition to the prize money and a diploma, the winners will receive a medal designed by Gara Martín Kraus, granddaughter of the great tenor.
Two special prizes will also be 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 receives most votes from the audience. The finalists will also receive invitations to perform in European theatres.
Tickets for the final are on sale at www.auditorioteatrolaspalmasgc.es and www.auditorio-alfredokraus.com, and at ticket offices at the Auditorium and Teatro Pérez Galdós.
More than 100 participants and 65 semi-finalists
Applications for the 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.
In the semi-finals held on Monday and Tuesday in Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, 65 singers took part after they were selected during the preliminary rounds in Florence, Madrid, Naples and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Candidates chosen in Florence
The first preliminary round of the competition was held in Florence, at Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, on 15 and 16 June. Young singers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United States took part.
The tribunal, comprising Rosa Kraus Ley, Marzio Conti and Mario Pontiggia, considered eight candidates eligible to go on to the semi-final in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Nikoleta Kapetanidou (soprano), Ana Machado (soprano), Raoni Hübner (tenor), Christina Campsall (mezzo-soprano), Dongyoung An (baritone), Paulo Paolillo (tenor), Aigaku Kishinami (tenor) and Qi Ling (soprano).
Candidates chosen in Madrid
Teatro Nacional de La Zarzuela was the venue for the round held in Madrid on 17 and 18 June. Young singers from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, France, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Mexico and Ukraine signed up for the auditions. On this occasion the tribunal members were Rosa Kraus, Daniel Bianco, Raúl Asenjo (member of the theatre management team), and Mario Pontiggia.
After listening to all the participants, the tribunal considered 14 candidates eligible to continue: Manuel Fuentes Figueira (bass-baritone), Olga Syniakova (mezzo-soprano), Ethel Trujillo Amezcua (soprano), Yusniel Estrada Viciedo (tenor), Catalina González Guajardo (soprano), Inés Lorans Millán (soprano), Vanessa Cera Bula (soprano), Margarita Rodríguez Martín (soprano), Andrea Jiménez Mateo (soprano), Raquel del Pino Herranz (soprano), María Ayestarán Garralda (soprano), José Manuel González Caro (baritone), Mariana Isaza Taborda (soprano), and Lucas Somoza Osterc (baritone).
Candidates chosen in Naples
The third preliminary round was held at Teatro di San Carlo, in Naples, on 5 and 6 July. Accompanied by Fabio Maggio, official pianist of the competition, young singers from Belgium, China, Ireland, Italy, Romania, South Korea, Spain and the United States auditioned for a place.
The tribunal members were Rosa Kraus, Paolo Pinamonti (artistic director of Teatro di San Carlo), Francesco Andolfi (artistic department coordinator at the same theatre), and Mario Pontiggia.
Seven participants were selected at this round to go on to the semi-final: Chiara Notarnicola (soprano), Ilaria Quilico (soprano), Daniel Kim (tenor), Unji Bergvatten (soprano), Young Kug Jin (baritone), Pierpaolo Barone (baritone) and Alexandra Tarniceru (soprano).
Candidates chosen in Gran Canaria
Nine young singers went on to the semi-final of the VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus after the preliminary rounds held on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 September at Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Twenty young singers from China, Cuba, Finland, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Ukraine auditioned, accompanied by Juan Francisco Parra, official pianist of the competition.
The tribunal, comprising Rosa Kraus, Tilman Kuttenkeuler (General Manager of Fundación Auditorio Teatro) and Mario Pontiggia, chose nine participants to go on to the next round: Patricia Calvache Rodríguez (soprano), Fernando García-Campero (baritone), Héctor Rodríguez Vera (tenor), Iida Maria Antola (soprano), Victoria Songwei Li (soprano), Ricardo Llamas Márquez (bass-baritone), David Batista Falcón (countertenor), Xu Chen (tenor) and Gabriel Rodríguez Álvarez (tenor).