Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2 April 2019

Italian soprano Mariella Devia to chair VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus 2019

Italian soprano Mariella Devia to chair VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus 2019

• Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus and Cabildo de Gran Canaria are calling for applications for the seventh singing competition, to be held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria from 23 to 28 September.

Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus and Cabildo de Gran Canaria (Gran Canaria Island Council) are calling for applications for the VII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus 2019, to be held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria from 23 to 28 September. This is the second time the competition has been held in its second phase.

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 with 20th anniversary of the death of its creator.

On this special occasion, 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. Mariella Devia is a well-established artist at major theatres and has ample experience teaching younger generations. Invited to Las Palmas de 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.

Following the wishes of Alfredo Kraus, his daughter Rosa Kraus Ley (Chair of the foundation that upholds the tenor’s artistic legacy) and the Cabildo de Gran Canaria (headed by Antonio Morales Méndez) revived the competition in 2017, 18 years after the last event of 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 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the tenor’s birthplace. The collaboration of the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (City Hall) and Fundación Canaria Auditorio y Teatro de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is essential in achieving this.

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 VI CICAK 2017, chaired by tenor Jaime Aragall, voted after the 11 finalists had 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). After the audience had voted, the VI CICAK 2017 gave the Audience Prize to soprano Leonor Bonilla and the Prize for the Best Singer of Spanish Nationality, awarded by Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall, to baritone Carles Pachón.

Seventh competition

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 of the VII CICAK 2019 will be held at Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid) and Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (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 at Applications close on 31 May for the preliminary rounds in Florence and Madrid and on 17 June for the preliminary rounds in Naples and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Prizes and invitations to perform

Participants in the VII CICAK 2019 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 prizes3,000 euros from the Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 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 attending the final round. Finalists will also be eligible to receive a series of 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. Located in the heart of the old town, birthplace of Alfredo Kraus, the renovated building will house the Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus and include a museum, archives and a centre for education, research and dissemination. The new venue, in Calle Sor Brígida Castelló, next to Santo Domingo church and square, will be designed to store and properly preserve the FIAK holdings.

The Foundation will continue the initiative started in 2018 of holding conference cycles on the artistry of Alfredo Kraus and providing activities for young performers, two of the objectives Kraus included in the constitution of the foundation he created.

Press conference

Press conference

Press conference

Press conference

Press conference

Press conference

Photos: Nacho González Oramas