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Alfredo Kraus

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  • Born: Las Palmas, Canary Islands
  • Died: Madrid, Spain
  • Years Active: 1990s, 2000s

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Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Opera tenor, known for putting quality before quantity in his performances. In the opera world, Alfredo Kraus is famous for refusing roles he knows he cannot sing or that are not in his repertoire. One of his best roles which he has portrayed numerous times is Werther.

Alfredo Kraus was born in Las Palmas in Great Canary. He began his musical career at the age of four taking up piano lessons. By the age of eight, he was an important part of the school choir, developing his tenor voice even then. Performing recitals and musical meetings, Alfredo Kraus was taught composition from Dona Maria Suarez Fiol of Leon. He continued performing concerts and recitals. At 17 years old, he was the lead tenor in the Choir of the Filarmonica de Canary Gran and the Polifonica Chorale of the Palms. It was with this early experience that Alfredo Kraus developed a style and a repertoire. He decided at an early age what his musical bounds would be. His style is intellectually stimulating and leaves everything to the imagination. His experience finally brought him to a professional debut in 1956.

Alfredo Kraus made his professional debut in Cairo, Egypt in 1956. He portrayed the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto. Many of his opera performances have led him to international fame especially his portrayal of Werther. After his debut he performed at La Scala in Milan and the Covent Garden in 1959. From Milan Alfredo Kraus broadened his repertoire to include the United States. He made his operatic debut in the United States in Chicago in 1962. Never before has someone made such an impact on American opera. The tenacity and style of his performance led to a New York Metropolitan Opera debut in 1966. During his stay in the United States, Alfredo Kraus has performed such roles as Faust, Nemorino, Werther, Arturo and Don Ottavio. His preciseness in the roles he portrays proves his belief in putting quality before quantity in his work.

Traveling the world doing concerts and recitals, Alfredo Kraus never tires of the roles he performs. In April of 1980 he was present and performed at the silver wedding celebration of the Lyric Opera. From 1991-92, Alfredo Kraus returned to Covent Garden to perform as Hoffmann and Nemorino.

After more than four decades of performing operas, concerts and recitals, Alfredo Kraus keeps on singing. He doesn't let his age slow him down. According to Gianandrea Gavazzeni, another opera singer, Alfredo Kraus is a master tenor, perfectly changing his voice to adhere to his various roles. Rodolfo Celliti, Tullio Serafin and Giuletta Simionato all agree that Alfredo Kraus represents perfection in both his singing and acting. Although critics say his worst performance was Arie antiche with Jose Tordesillas.