Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 26 September 2021

Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Olga Syniakova wins first prize at VIII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Olga Syniakova wins first prize at VIII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus

• Portuguese sopranos Regina Freire and Susana Vieira were second and third placegetters, respectively
• Spanish soprano Teresa Villena won the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall prize for the best Spanish singer
• Olga Syniakova took another prize after receiving most votes from the audience during the final gala performance at the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus
• The President of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales Méndez, and the Chair of the FIAK, Rosa Kraus Ley, highlighted the level of participation in the competition – 124 applicants from 28 countries – and the considerable vocal and performance skills of the 10 finalists

The Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus (FIAK) and the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, organisers of the VIII Concurso Internacional de Canto Alfredo Kraus (CICAK), have announced that Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Olga Syniakova took first prize in the competition, after contestants were assessed by the jury chaired by Mexican tenor Francisco Araiza at a public performance on Saturday 25 September at Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Olga Syniakova also received the audience prize.
The other placegetters at the VIII CICAK were Portuguese sopranos Regina Freire (second prize) and Susana Vieira (third prize), and soprano Teresa Villena, who was awarded the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall prize for the best singer of Spanish nationality. The Fundación Martín Chirino Las Palmas de Gran Canaria prize for the best Canary Islands singer was not awarded, because no Canary Islands candidates took part in the final.

The final gala performance of the VIII CICAK was given by 10 singers chosen from the 124 applicants from 28 countries. The finalists were accompanied by the Gran Canaria Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by maestro Óliver Díaz.
In addition to the four prize winners, six other finalists had the opportunity to showcase their vocal and performance skills: Germán Alcántara (baritone / Argentina), James Kim (tenor / South Korea), John Lim (bass / South Korea), Yulia Merkudinova (soprano / Ukraine), Cecília Rodrigues (soprano / Portugal), and Ihor Voievodin (bass-baritone / Ukraine).

The prize giving included the President of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Antonio Morales Méndez, the Chair of the Fundación Internacional Alfredo Kraus, Rosa Kraus Ley, and the Chair of the Jury, Francisco Araiza.

Both the President of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria and the Chair of the FIAK praised the participants’ technical and artistic skills at the eighth singing competition, and expressed their satisfaction with the interest in the event, despite the difficulties due to the pandemic and its considerable impact on organisation.

Rosa Kraus Ley said “The CICAK pursues the goal of excellence in art,” one of the key aims of Alfredo Kraus since the contest began, in 1990. After expressing her satisfaction with the level of interest in the eighth competition, she thanked the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the main supporter of this initiative, and the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall and Fundación Martín Chirino, for providing two of the prizes, and the collaborating Spanish and international theatres.

Antonio Morales Méndez said that the Cabildo was committed to supporting the biennial competition, as it has since 2017, the first year of the second phase of the CICAK. “We are firmly committed to art and culture and to upholding the legacy of Alfredo Kraus,” he said.

The President of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria reiterated the intention of the institution to continue supporting the project for the museum dedicated to Alfredo Kraus, which will also house the FIAK. “In 2022, the Cabildo will assign funds from its budget for this purpose,” he said. The museum will be located in part of a building in Vegueta, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s old town.

Representatives from the collaborating theatres were also present at the prizegiving after the jury had made its decision: Daniel Bianco, Director, Teatro de la Zarzuela (Madrid); Luca Ioseffini, Academy Director, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence); Elisabete Matos, Artistic Director, Teatro de São Carlos (Lisbon), 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.

Also on stage were Juan Espino, Head of Culture, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall, and Jesús Castaño, Director of the Fundación de Arte y Pensamiento Martín Chirino.

Prizes and invitations to perform

The first prize, awarded to Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Olga Syniakova, was 14,000 euros.

The second prize, which went to Portuguese soprano Regina Freire, was 12,000 euros.

The third prize, awarded to Portuguese soprano Susana Vieira, was 10,000 euros.

The three official prizes of the CICAK also included a diploma and a medal designed by the tenor’s granddaughter, Gara Martín Kraus.

Two other prizes were awarded at the eighth competition:

Spanish soprano Teresa Villena won the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria City Hall prize, of 3,000 euros and a diploma, for the best singer of Spanish nationality.

Mezzo-soprano Olga Syniakova won two prizes in total, including the audience prize, of 2,500 euros, awarded by the Cabildo de Gran Canaria for the contestant most voted by the audience during the final gala performance.

The prize winners with the members of the jury and the representatives of the organising and collaborating institutions.

The prize winners with the members of the jury and the representatives of the organising and collaborating institutions.

Regina Freire, Rosa Kraus Ley, Olga Syniakova, Antonio Morales Méndez, Susana Vieira, Francisco Araiza and Teresa Villena

Regina Freire, Rosa Kraus Ley, Olga Syniakova, Antonio Morales Méndez, Susana Vieira, Francisco Araiza and Teresa Villena

Regina Freire (second prize), Olga Syniakova (first prize) and Susana Vieira (third prize)

Regina Freire (second prize), Olga Syniakova (first prize) and Susana Vieira (third prize)

Regina Freire (second prize), Olga Syniakova (first prize) and Susana Vieira (third prize)

Regina Freire (second prize), Olga Syniakova (first prize) and Susana Vieira (third prize)

Photo: Nacho González.