The Alfredo Kraus Auditorium triumphs as an icon in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for how it fits in with its surroundings.
As a boy, Juan Bordes described the existence of some little caboso fish that inhabited the pools left at low tide by Las Canteras beach. Juan then grew up, became a man and a famous sculptor, but those little fish continued to swim around in his mind, the very place from where they came out to become the sculptural series set into the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The mermaids on the façade are inspired by those early salty memories.
Nature’s different powers are all fused together in the auditorium. The building rises off a wave breaker and over a volcanic bedrock. The boy dreamer that lives on inside Juan Borges imagined that the fauna from the nearby reef that shelters Las Canteras, la Barra, extended all the way to the building, thus expanding its underwater kingdom.
For this reason on the outside we find a steel scorpion fish, a stone octopus, a ray and even a jellyfish, whose eyes look like they are about to open at any time, threatening to petrify the sea itself. But this hasn’t happened yet… Quite the opposite in fact, the Atlantic laps up to this water’s edge, adding its loud crescendo to a stage where the finest orchestras and voices are regularly on show. Other creatures to have slipped inside are sea snails, eels, crabs, shoals of small fish and a giant mussel that emerges out of the Rosa de los Vientos.
As a gesture by the stone, steel and glass to the Atlantic, the stage at the symphonic hall opens a window to the sea, perhaps so that the sea creatures might also enjoy the wonderful musicals that are held at the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium. It was designed by prestigious architect Óscar Tusquets, who made it quite clear from the outset that his work should fit in harmoniously with the surroundings.
This sublime building is like a cross between a fortress and a beacon on the ocean’s edge. It cuts an imposing and captivating figure indeed. The Spanish web edition for prestigious magazine National Geographic chose a photo of it as its picture of the day. This is just one more example of its standing as a fine architectural symbol of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as well as a cultural lung and venue for international events such as the Canary Music Festival, the Jazz Festival and the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, among many other events.
The name of the auditorium pays tribute to Gran Canarian tenor Alfredo Kraus, one of the most important voices in contemporary lyrical song. Nearby is an impressive sculpture of the tenor, measuring over eight metres high, in which he seems to be holding a colossal vocal duel with the roaring Atlantic.
Just a few metres away is the bustle of daily life, just like in the pools where Juan Bordes used to have such fun. There are people sitting out on pavement cafés, or walking along, or looking out at the surfers riding over some of the finest waves in Europe. Further out, where the sea drops to a ripple thanks to the Barra reef, today’s boys and girls have fun under the sun, playing in the crystal clear waters, without realizing they are creating memories that one day will inspire some truly beautiful and incredible things.