The 17th International Festival of Operatic Singers “Marie Kraja”

The 17th Festival took place in Tirana at the Cathedral of Orthodox Church on April 18th, 19th, and 20th, 2019. Around 200 singers from four continents participated in applications and auditions, and 15 singers were qualified to the semifinal phase of the Festival in Tirana.During the semifinal of competition, which took place on April 18th and 19th, singers presented one aria in each night. The final took place on April 20th with 8 qualified singers from the semifinal that competed 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 British conductor, Martin André.

This Festival was broadcast live on the Albanian Public Television RTSH through its terrestrial and satellite broadcast for Europe and North America. Famous guest artists were invited to perform during the Festival, like the world tenor Murat Karahan, and the young virtuoso violinist of Albanian descent Elvin Hoxha Ganyiev. The printed and electronic media devoted to this edition of the Festival a much higher interest.

The Prize winners of the were:

• First Prize “Marie Kraja” Mr. Dongo Kim, Bass (South Korea)
• Second Prize Ms. Ezgi Karakaya, mezzo-soprano (Turkey)
• Third Prize Mr. Faik Mansu, baritone (Turkey) and Ms. Nina Muho, soprano (Albania)
• Song Prize Mr. Kirill Matviev, tenor (Russia)

The Jury of the :

  • Mr. Nicholas PAYNE, Director of Opera Europa (Brussels), Chair
  • Mr. Johen BREIHOLZ, Director of Artistic Administration and Casting, Theater an der Wien (Vienna)
  • Mr. Pierangelo CONTE, Artistic Director, Fondazione Opera di Firenze Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Florence)
  • Mr. Murat KARAHAN, Director of Opera of Ankara, and Turkish Theatres of Opera
  • Ms. Zana ÇELA, General Director of Theater of Opera and Ballet (Albania)
  • Ms. Danusa LUKNISOVA, President of DankArt Agency, (Italy / Slovakia)
  • Mr. Martin ANDRE, conductor, (Great Britain)
  • Ms. Suzana FRASHERI, professor of canto (Albania)

President of the Festival:

Ms. Elva Margariti
Minister of Culture

Artistic Director and Producer:

Pali Kuke


Ms. Zana Cela
Founder of the Festival


Martin André
Conductor (Great Britain)