Alfredo Kraus Trujillo, the son of an Austrian man and a Canarian woman, grew up in a music loving family and he showed a talent for singing from a very young age. His musical training began in his hometown, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where he first became a member in the school choir and later on was designated as a soloist in the Philharmonic Society choir. This is where he took his high school diploma, being subsequently trained as an Industrial Surveyor, but his great passion remained bel canto. His gifted voice captivated anyone who listened, and he eventually leaned towards music instead. From that moment on, he devoted himself fully to finishing his training with great vocal teachers in several European cities. Alfredo Kraus’s voice was very warm, falling under the category of “tenore di grazia” and covering an extensive register. His polished technique and great intelligence to select his repertoire were also notorious. His style was sober and elegant; all these qualities enabled him to interpret characters of the French and Italian 17th century opera, as well as numerous Spanish “zarzuelas”.
In 1956 he made his debut at the Teatro Real in Cairo with Rigoletto and Tosca, achieving great success. These performances were followed by others in famous theatres around the world. But his big opportunity came in 1958, when he was called to replace the announced tenor at the National Theater San Carlos in Lisbon, where he played the role of Alfredo in La Traviata alongside the legendary Maria Callas. After that, his success would go “in crescendo”, opera after opera, theatre after theatre: Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden in London, La Sonnambula at La Scala in Milan, Rigoletto at the Metropolitan in New York, etc. Among his most memorable performances we can highlight Il Pescatore di perle or The Daughter of the Regiment, but above all, his Werther at the Paris Opera House, which he interpreted with great feeling and realism, was the most enchanting.
Throughout his career, he received countless awards and distinctions all over the world. In 1997, Gran Canaria wished to pay tribute to the artist and named the city’s concert hall after him. This is where he gave the last concert of his life. Alfredo Kraus died in Madrid in 1999 at 71 years of age.