International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja”
1st Edition
The 1st Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja”

The 1st Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja” was held on 22, 23 and 24 January 1999, and it was national. 20 operatic singers competed for the big Prize “Marie Kraja”, and two other Prizes.

The singers were accompanied during the three concerts of the Festival by the Symphonic Orchestra of the Theater of Opera and Ballet of Albania (TOB). This event was brought live on TV.

In order to increase its audience, the Festival was perceived as a TV spectacle, which focused on the most known opera repertoire, and its most “popular” parts.

The spectacular cover of this activity was further widened with invitees, such as ballet groups, singers, instrumentists, etc. Six costume designers had recreated in a modern style costumes of the most famous characters of the worldwide opera repertoire, which were presented through a costume-parade. All those, and especially the expected high level of the operatic artists brought the Festival to an absolute success.

The Prize winners of the 1st Festival were:

First Prize “Marie Kraja”Ms. Mariana LEKA, soprano
Second PrizeMs. Oriana KURTESHI, soprano
Third PrizeMs. Sonila BABOÇI, (soprano) and Ms. Shpresa BEKA, (soprano)

The Jury of the 1st Festival:

  • Ms. Edit MIHALI, soprano, (Albania), Chair
  • Ms. Elisabeth GALLES, soprano (London)
  • Mr. Glenville HARGREAVES, baritone (London)
  • Mr. Rodney MILNES, music journalist (London)
  • Ms. Maria Paola DE LUCA, President of Opera Festival, (Foggia, Italy)
  • Ms. Erla KULLAKU, soprano, (Italy)
  • Ms. Peggy BOUVERETT, professor of canto, (Paris)
  • Ms. Peggy BOUVERETT, professor of canto, (Paris)
  • Mr. Rifat TEQJA, conductor (Albania)

President of the Festival:

Mr. Edi RAMA
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports


Artistic Director and Producer:

Mrs. Zana ÇELA