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Alfredo Kraus (1927 - 1999)

Although Kraus (real name Alfredo Kraus Trujillo) began piano lessons at the age of four, sang in a church choir at eight and studied music and opera together with his older brother, baritone Francisco Kraus Trujillo, his father (a naturalised Austrian) insisted that Alfredo prepare for a career in the sciences. He therefore studied for a degree in industrial engineering, but after graduating began to devote himself increasingly to singing, studying in Barcelona with Gali Markoff, in Valencia with Francisco Andres and finally in Milan with Mercedes Llopart, a soprano popular in Italy and Spain during the 1920s and 1930s.

When Kraus was twenty-eight he won first prize at the Geneva Singing Competition. A representative of the Cairo Opera, who was present at the auditions, offered him the role of the Duke of Mantua / Rigoletto, and with this he made his professional operatic debut at the Cairo Opera in 1956 (although from 1954 he had sung in zarzuela in Madrid and Barcelona).

Kraus came to wider attention when he sang Alfredo / La traviata opposite Maria Callas in Lisbon during 1958 (a performance that has become famous on record). International appearances now proliferated: at the Royal Opera House, London in 1959 as Edgardo / Lucia di Lammermoor with Joan Sutherland; at La Scala, Milan the following year as Elvino / La sonnambula; at the Rome Opera in 1961 (Alfredo again, and the premiere of Renzo Rossellini’s opera Uno sguardo dal ponte); and at the Vienna State Opera in 1965, as Edgardo.




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