This is more than just a Festival …


Each year, the International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja” sets Tirana, our capital, at the very heart of the world music, thus making Tirana part of the map of the international art cities. We are happy that our capital has become the host of this Festival, because hundreds of participants coming from the five continents consider it as a very important event for the promotion of artists in their world operatic career.

For 22 years on end, the International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja” has indicated that it represents not only a culmination in the Albanian cultural life, but moreover, it is considered as an institution which is able to speak beyond the Albanian borders in a way that even a political program cannot do.

It is very difficult to organize operatic festivals in Albania because it is a known fact that culture is not high in the priorities of governments’ to-do list, as we would have liked. It has been shaped the idea that if you spend for the society’s cultural health, you’ll abuse with the citizens physical well-being. There are also done some false analogies defining the budget allocation for an opera as a lapse, as something to the detriment of the construction of let’s say, a children’s hospital. It’s known that culture comes across very often in a poorly fitting status of spoken support vs. the real budgets.

Being aware of this reality, when I started to think of organizing such an event, the International Festival of Operatic Singers, I was very skeptical 22 years ago about the will and readiness of the domestic cultural institutions to support and appreciate such an activity. But today after 22 years of great efforts, I’m happy to confirm that this project has been welcomed and supported by the culture community in the country.

Having a clear vision, the institutions that support this event not only contribute to the promotion of talents and the artistic exchange of experiences, but also to one of the most successful programs of our cultural policies in the country. The international festivals have their impact on changing the image of countries thought of before as “boring, underdeveloped, and not attractive”.

International festivals introduce fashion to the cities; make the host countries and their citizens feel appraised and part of a community of a developed country.

The International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja” organized by the association “Culture-Media-Art is encouraging such a promoting image.

Hundreds of artists from all over the world have participated so far in the past 14 editions of this festival. To many of them, Tirana’s stage will remain their starting point of great careers, will remain a grand presentation not only in front of a very enthusiastic audience, but in front of a jury, where the most distinguished world personalities in the area of operatic art are members of.

There are only winners in this festival that bears the name of a founder of the Albanian opera, Mrs. Marie Kraja. Someone can win a prize, someone else can acquire a first experience of this kind, another one can get acquainted with new colleagues, and one other participant will appraise this extra opportunity for him or even a business card from a member of the jury that can be the entry door into his/her career. All the artists can achieve a helpful experience, because the exchange of experiences, individualities, styles, and schools is the best way for artists to maintain the required standards and to become more competitive. On the other hand, the international festivals offer a new dimension to the culture of the host country.

International festivals of music are successful innovations in the programmes of cultural policies of the last hundred years. A successful cultural policy considers the international festivals of music as one of the most encouraging ways of culture progress and development of the country in general, because these events become touristic getaway for the foreigners who discover not only the culture of the country, but the development standards as well. They can be considered as vital “ingredients” for the country image. Saint Petersburg, Edinburgh, Salzburg, Cannes, Prague, Berlin, Cardiff, etc. wouldn’t be in the tourists’ list without their architecture, music festivals or other historical associations.  Tirana is becoming every year such an important city due to the International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja”. Many foreign artists are getting to know our country and are discovering the aspects of its development through this festival.

Zana Cela

Founder of the Festival