Jury chaired by Mexican tenor Francisco Araiza will announce the prize winners of the VIII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus at a gala performance before an audience in Gran Canaria
• Francisco Araiza: “Alfredo Kraus was the most elegant and noblest singer I’ve ever met”
• This Saturday, 25 September, at 7.00 pm, the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus will host the final gala performance of the CICAK, where the finalists will be accompanied by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by maestro Óliver Díaz
• A total of 124 singers applied to take part in the Competition, with 49 entering the semi-final round at the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus after successfully completing the preliminary rounds held in Madrid, Florence, Lisbon and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
• Tickets for the final, to be held in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, are on sale at www.auditorioteatrolaspalmasgc.es and www.auditorio-alfredokraus.com, and at ticket offices at the Auditorium and Teatro Pérez Galdós
The jury of the VIII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus, chaired by Mexican tenor Francisco Araiza, will announce the prize winners from among the finalists, who will perform at a public show on Saturday 25 September at 7.00 pm in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Tickets for the final, including a performance by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by maestro Óliver Díaz, are on sale at www.auditorioteatrolaspalmasgc.es and www.auditorio-alfredokraus.com, and ticket offices at the Auditorium and Teatro Pérez Galdós.
The President of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales Méndez, Councillor for Finance, Pedro Justo Brito, and the Chair of the Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus, Rosa Kraus Ley, representing the two organising institutions of the CICAK, expressed their satisfaction with the considerable impact of the Competition this year despite the difficulties caused by Covid restrictions worldwide.
As Francisco Araiza explained, this year’s contestants include “first-rate talent”. The Mexican tenor said, “Singers these days face very tough competition, making it difficult for them to stand out. That’s why it’s important to have this type of competition, to help them on their career path”.
Araiza also highlighted “the empathy” between the singers and the jury. “Rather than deciding whether or not a singer is up to the mark, it’s about giving them advice to help them with their career,” he said.
The Jury Chair also spoke of his memories of Alfredo Kraus: “For me he was the most elegant and noblest singer I’ve ever met; we enjoyed a very close friendship, both professionally and personally”.
At the semi-final round in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, held on Sunday 19, Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 September, 49 singers who had successfully completed the preliminary rounds in Madrid, Florence, Lisbon and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria took part, joined by a group with direct entry into the semi-final after finishing as finalists or winners of other international singing competitions, pursuant to the rules of the competition.
For the eighth CICAK, the organisers received 124 applications from 28 countries by the applications closing date, on 28 June. This number far exceeds the applications for all the previous competitions since it was created in 1990.
Replies to the international call for applications made by the organisers of the VIII CICAK were received from 44 sopranos, 18 mezzo-sopranos, one countertenor, 26 tenors, 22 baritones, eight bass baritones and five basses, aged 23 to 35.
The 124 applicants were from 28 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Mexico, Norway, The Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.
At the preliminary rounds in Madrid, Florence and Lisbon, held from 26 May to 17 June, 62 applicants auditioned and 32 were selected by the tribunal. At the preliminary round in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, on 17 and 18 September, 12 more applicants took part.
Internationally renowned jury
The Competition jury is chaired by internationally renowned Mexican tenor Francisco Araiza, a doyen among the Mexican opera singers who triumphed abroad from the 1970s. He enjoyed a close association with Alfredo Kraus, both as a friend and professionally. In a career spanning 45 years, Araiza has sung much of the repertoire that Alfredo Kraus performed.
Like the Gran Canarian tenor, Francisco Araiza has been honoured with the prestigious title of Kammersängerby the Opera of Vienna. In recent decades, as Alfredo Kraus did, Araiza has combined his performing career with work as a singing teacher at specialist schools and on master classes.
Francisco Araiza will chair a jury made up of representatives from the collaborating theatres: Daniel Bianco, Director, Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid); Luca Ioseffini, Academy Director, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence); and Elisabete Matos, Artistic Director, Teatro de São Carlos (Lisbon). They’ll be joined by Alessandro Galoppini, Casting Manager, Teatro alla Scala (Milan); Celestino Varela, General and Artistic Manager, Ópera de Oviedo; Ulises Jaén, General and Artistic Manager, Ópera de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria / ACO; and honorary member Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo.
As in the last two events, the competition will be chaired by Rosa Kraus Ley, Chair of the FIAK and the CICAK, with Mario Pontiggia, Artistic Director of the FIAK and the CICAK, as Artistic Director and Secretary.
The main task of the VIII CICAK jury is to discover new opera talent and help young singers on their career path, in line with the original idea of the competition conceived by Alfredo Kraus.
Prizes and invitations to perform
The CICAK awards three official prizes of 14,000, 12,000 and 10,000 euros, and in addition to the monetary prizes and a diploma, the winners will receive a medal designed by the tenor’s granddaughter, Gara Martín Kraus.
Two special prizes are also available: the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall prize of 3,000 euros and a diploma for the best singer of Spanish nationality, and the Fundación Martín Chirino de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria prize of 2,500 euros and a medal and diploma for the best Canary Islands singer. The finalists will also have the opportunity to be invited to auditions and/or productions, concerts or recitals by the members of the Jury and the theatres they represent.