Italian soprano Mariella Devia to chair VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus 2019
• Cabildo de Gran Canaria and Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus are calling for applications for the seventh singing competition.
• The competition will be held from 23 to 28 September in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
• In honour of Alfredo Kraus, Mariella Devia has agreed to chair a singing competition for the first time.
• The event coincides with the 20th anniversary of Kraus’ death.
• The preliminary rounds will be held at Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid) and MMF – Opera di Firenze (Florence) in June; at Teatro di San Carlo (Naples) in July; and at Auditorio Alfredo Kraus (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) in September.
Cabildo de Gran Canaria (Gran Canaria Island Council) and Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus are calling for applications for the VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus 2019, to be held in the capital city of Gran Canaria from 23 to 28 September with a jury chaired by Italian soprano Mariella Devia.
After the recent launch of the competition in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with the participation of Antonio Morales, president of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus was presented to the media in Madrid’s Zarzuela Theatre. Participants in the Madrid launch included the tenor’s daughter Rosa Kraus, Chair of Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus, and Mario Pontiggia, artistic director of the FIAK. They were joined by Daniel Bianco, director of Teatro de la Zarzuela, and Óliver Díaz, musical director of Teatro de la Zarzuela and conductor for the concert of the competition final.
True to the original idea of Alfredo Kraus, the aim of the competition is to support young opera singers and help them secure employment. These were the tenor’s objectives in 1990 when he created the competition, which he continued to organise until 1999, the year of his death. The seventh competition has particular significance because it coincides with the 20th anniversary of the death of its creator.
The 2019 competition, second in the new phase of the event and seventh since its creation, is especially significant because it coincides with the 20th anniversary of Kraus’ death. Tributes are being paid to Gran Canaria’s great tenor this year in Naples (Teatro di San Carlo), Florence (MMF), and Madrid, at Teatro La Zarzuela, where Kraus made his début in Doña Francisquita at the reopening of the theatre in October 1956. Teatro La Zarzuela will dedicate the performances of its new production of Vives’ zarzuela to the memory of Alfredo Kraus.
On this very special occasion, the jury will be chaired by 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.
Mariella Devia is a highly acclaimed artist at the world’s major theatres and has ample experience teaching younger generations. Invited to Gran Canaria for the Concert in Tribute to Alfredo Kraus in 2016, Devia performed pieces she had sung with Kraus in Oviedo, Rome and New York, a veritable shrine of bel canto. In honour of Alfredo Kraus, the soprano has agreed to chair a singing competition for the first time.
The members of the jury are artistic directors Daniel BIANCO (La Zarzuela / Madrid), Paolo PINAMONTI (San Carlo / Naples), Pierangelo CONTE (Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino / Florence), Stefano MAZZONIS DI PRALAFERA (Opéra Royal de Wallonie / Lieja), Cesidio NIÑO (ABAO / Bilbao) and Ulises JAÉN (ACO / Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). Guillermo GARCÍA ALCALDE and Jerónimo SAAVEDRA ACEVEDO will act as honorary members, while Rosa KRAUS LEY will be Chair and Mario PONTIGGIA will be Artistic Director and Secretary of the competition.
Seeking to uphold the legacy of Alfredo Kraus, the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, headed by Antonio Morales Méndez, and the foundation chaired by the tenor’s daughter Rosa Kraus Ley, revived the competition in 2017, 18 years after it was last held during the “first phase”.
The basic precepts are that the competition should involve young singers from Spain and abroad, be judged by a highly qualified jury, and be held in the capital city of Gran Canaria, the tenor’s birthplace. An essential part of achieving this is the contribution of the collaborating institutions: Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Las Palmas City Hall) and Fundación Canaria Auditorio y Teatro de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, administered by the City Hall and the Cabildo.
The revival of the competition in 2017 was a major success, as seen in the 105 applications from singers of 22 nationalities, far exceeding the number of applicants for the five previous competitions.
Applicants in 2017 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.
The Official Jury of the 2017 competition, chaired by tenor Jaime Aragall, cast its votes after the 11 finalists performed for an enthusiastic audience that filled the Symphonic Hall of the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium. The Jury awarded 1st prize to baritone Carles Pachón (Spain), 2nd prize to tenor Galeano Salas (Mexico / USA) and 3rd prize to soprano Leonor Bonilla (Spain).
Soprano Leonor Bonilla was awarded the Audience Prize and baritone Carles Pachón received the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Prize for the best singer of Spanish nationality.
The auditorium opened by the tenor in 1997, Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, will host the semi-final (23 and 24 September) and the final round (28 September) of the seventh competition. The final round will be held as a public concert, with accompaniment by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Oliver Díaz, before the prize giving.
The preliminary rounds will be held at Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid) and MMF – Opera di Firenze (Florence) in June; at Teatro di San Carlo (Naples) in July; and at Auditorio Alfredo Kraus (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) in September. Applicants for these rounds will be judged by a committee comprising the Chair and the Artistic Director of the FIAK and artistic directors of the collaborating institutions at each venue.
The VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus is open to singers of all nationalities aged 18 to 32 for soprano, countertenor and tenor voices and 18 to 35 for mezzo-soprano, contralto, baritone, bass-baritone and bass voices.
Those interested in taking part can apply using the application form available for downloading here, no later than 31 May for the preliminary rounds in Florence and Madrid and no later than 17 June for the preliminary rounds in Naples and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Prizes and invitations to perform
Participants will compete for substantial monetary prizes funded by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria. Three official prizes of 14,000, 12,000 and 10,000 euros will be awarded, plus two special prizes: one from the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria of 3,000 euros for the best singer of Spanish nationality, and the Audience Prize of 2,500 euros, for the singer who receives most votes from spectators at the final round. Finalists will also be eligible to receive invitations to perform at European theatres.
Preserving and promoting the legacy of Alfredo Kraus
The Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus, one of the most ambitious projects of the Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus and the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, seeks to preserve and promote the artistic legacy of Alfredo Kraus.
The Cabildo de Gran Canaria is working on another prestigious project to revitalise and reform part of the former residential home of San Antonio, in Vegueta, heart of the old town and birthplace of Alfredo Kraus, which will house the Foundation and include a museum, archives and a centre for education, research and dissemination.
The Foundation will also continue the conference cycles on the artistry of Alfredo Kraus and activities for young performers, two of the objectives Kraus wrote into the constitution of the foundation he created.