International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja”
9th Edition
The 9th International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja”

The Festival took place in Tirana on 30 and 31October 2008 in the Academy of Fine Arts. About 90 singers from four continents competed in several phases. The first phase, which was the applications phase, took place from May to September 2008. The selection phase qualified 25 singers to continue their competition during the Festival in Tirana. The first appearance was an audition with piano of 25 singers before the International Jury. In the second and third days of the Festival, the singers performed with the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Academy of Arts directed by the Italian conductor, Leonardo Quadrini. The Festival was broadcast live on the Albanian Public Television through a terrestrial and satellite transmission in Europe and North America.

15 singers competed during the second day, and 10 singers during the final day of the Festival, heading for the three Festival big Prizes.

Different guest artists were invited during the Festival days, and high interest was generated by the media.

The Prize winners of the 9th Festival were:

First Prize “Marie Kraja”Mr. Michael Anthony McGee, baritone (USA)
Second PrizeMs. Oh Hee Gin, soprano (South Korea)
Third PrizeMr. Ram Lahaj, tenor (Kosova)

The Jury of the 9th Festival:

  • Mr. Nicholas PAYNE, Director of Opera Europa (London), Chair
  • Ms. Giovanna LOMAZZI, Vice President of ASLICO (Milan)
  • Ms. Nancy RHODES, Director of Encompass New Opera Theater (New York)
  • Mr. Burhan SPAHIU, professor of canto, (Albania)
  • Ms. Suzana FRASHERI, professor of canto, (Albania)
  • Ms. Danusa LUKNISOVA, “Arte Musica Italia” Agency, (Italy)
  • Mr. Suat ARIKAN, Artictic Director of the Opera of Izmir, (Turkey)
  • Ms. Wasfi KANI, President of Grange Park Opera (London)

President of the Festival:

Mr. Ylli PANGO
Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports

Artistic Director and Producer:


Mrs. Zana ÇELA


Bledar LACO


Leonardo QUADRINI (Italy)