The 16th International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja”

The 16th Festival took place in Tirana at the Theater of Opera and Ballet on November 3rd, 4th, and 5th 2016. Around 250 singers from four continents participated in applications and auditions, and 15 singers were qualified to the semifinal phase of the Festival in Tirana.The semifinal of competition phase took place on November 3rd and 4th, when singers presented one aria in each night. The final took place on November 5th with 8 qualified singers from the semifinal competing with one aria. In parallel to this competition, singers also competed for a song prize with most famous repertoire of world classic song legends.During the whole competition, singers were accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of the Theater of Opera and Ballet directed by the Italian conductor, Leonardo Quadrini.

The Prize winners of the The 16th Festival were:

• First Prize “Marie Kraja” Ms.Ilona MATARADZE
• Second Prize Mr.Andrei KIMACH
• Third Prize Mr.Klodian KACANI
• Song Prize Ms.Renisa LACKA

The Jury of the The 16th Festival:

  • Ms. Eva KLEINITZ, Director of Stuttgart Opera House (Germany), Chair of Jury
  • Mr. Nicholas PAYNE, Executive Director of “Opera Europa” (Brussels)
  • Mr. David POUNTNEY, Director of Cardiff Opera Festival “Singer of the World” (UK)
  • Mr. ROCC Ralf, Artistic Director of Opera Slovenia
  • Ms. Giovanna LOMAZZI, Vice President of ASLICO (Milan)
  • Ms. Danusa LUKNISOVA, “Arte Musica Italia” Agency (Italy)
  • Ms. Olga KAPANINA, Artistic Director of Bolshoi Opera (Russia)
  • Mr. Nestor TAYLOR, Opera of Athens (Greece)
  • Mr. Zana CELA, General Director of Opera and Ballet (Albania)

President of the Festival:

Ms. Mirela Kumbaro
Minister of Culture

Artistic Director and Producer:

Ms. Zana Cela


Pali Kuke


Leonardo Quadrini