Kraus, the eternal voice of Gran Canaria

The 6th annual Alfredo Kraus International Singing Competition turns the island of Gran Canaria into the hub of world classical music.

Alfredo Kraus, one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century, was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 24th November 1927. From 25th to 29th September 2017, the home town of the lyrical singer will be hosting the final stages of the 6th annual Alfredo Kraus International Singing Competition. Over a hundred aspiring singers from all around the world have entered this competition, providing further proof still of the universal appeal of the Gran Canarian artist.

Alfredo Kraus
Alfredo Kraus

The competition makes Las Palmas de Gran Canaria one of the top hubs for music on the world stage. Following a long gap of 18 years, the Alfredo Kraus International Foundation and the Cabildo de Gran Canaria have brought back an event which was held the first five times during the 1990s, with the backing of Kraus himself.

It is no coincidence that the president of the Alfredo Kraus International Foundation, Rosa Kraus Ley, the tenor’s daughter, should underline that “his career path has always been a symbol of pride for the island of Gran Canaria and for his home town of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Since the 1950s until 1999, the name of Kraus was an ever present at top operatic theatres and concert halls, with an extensive array of songs that has lasted throughout the years in cinema, radio and television”.  

Alfredo Kraus Auditorium

“Following his passing away”, added Rosa Kraus, “the artist became a legend, something that happens to very few artists. For the new generations of singers who never got the chance to hear him live, he is still a leading light. And both for professionals and his endless number of fans, Kraus is intricately linked with Gran Canaria”.

The singers aspiring to walk away with the top prize in 2017 come from a whole host of countries, including Germany, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Spain, USA, France, Greece, Holland, Italy, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea, the Dominican Republic, Rumania, Russia, Turkey and the Ukraine. The first two knock out rounds took place in Florence and Madrid, prior to the preliminary stages that were held in September 2017 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The grand finale will be open to the public and will take place on 29th September in the Symphonic Hall at the Alfredo Kraus Auditorium. 

Alfredo Kraus Auditorium

Kraus’ own career path was also marked by a competition. In 1956, according to the Alfredo Kraus International Foundation, he made the final of the International Singing Competition in Geneva. This signalled the start of his great legend. In that very city he signed his first contract to perform at the Opera of Cairo, where he made his debut in Rigoletto and Tosca. Two years down the line, in 1958, with La Traviata that he interpretted alongside Maria Callas at the Sao Carlos Theatre in Lisbon, “Alfredo Kraus started an hugely successful career that would see him perform in leading theatres and concert halls around the world. This popularity also led him to star in two films, in 1959 and 1960, called Gayarre and El Vagabundo y la Estrella”. 

Las Canteras Beach

Alfredo Kraus is gone, but he is here in spirit. His singing lives on forever, just like the gurgling waves that lap up to the sea edge next to the auditorium that carries his name, and very near to the bronze sculpture of him that seems to sing out to the Atlantic that witnessed his birth. Perhaps it was no coincidence then that he should have been born right at the Columbus House Museum. Gran Canaria was destined to widen its horizons on board a sailing boat blown along by his tuneful voice.