“I’ve always had the opportunity to fulfill my aspirations, to carry out my vision, joined by great people, both personally and intellectually, friends with outstanding human qualities. My life has taken me to places of great privileges.”
Considered one of the most important tenors in the world of opera, Francisco Araiza received the title of Kammersänger of Viena Opera in 1988, and has been a permanent member of Zurich Opera since 1977.
Born in Mexico City, he studied voice with distinguished Soprano Irma González and German repertoire with voice teacher Erika Kubacsek. Araiza’s stage debut came in 1969 singing Schumann’s Dichterliebe, a year later he would perform the first prisoner in a concert performance of Beethoven’s Fidelius, by the National Opera Company of Bellas Artes in Mexico City under the direction of Eduardo Mata.
His Europe debut was performing the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte in Karlsruhe Opera. He was invited and winner of the contest Concurso de la Radiodifusión Bávara in Munich, Germany.
He has performed in the most renowned theaters and opera companies in the world such as: Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Hamburg and Bavarian State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Leipzig Opera, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Opéra National de Paris (Bastille), San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Semperoper, Japan Opera, the Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Teatro Regio di Parma, Teatro La Fenice, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Teatro Real de Madrid, Royal Opera House-Covent Garden in London, Metropolitan Opera House of New York, Teatro Colón in Argentina and Palacio de Bellas Artes in México, as well as in festivals such as: Bayreuth, Salzburgo, Aix-en-Provence, Bregenz, Orange, Edimburgo, Praga, Verona, Macerata, Ravinia, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Schubert in Hohenems, Strauss in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Festival Internacional Cervantino and the Festival del Centro Histórico in Mexico City.
His opera repertoire comprises roles such as Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor; Alfredo in La Traviata, Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Riccardo in Un Ballo in maschera, Don Alvaro in Verdi’s La forza del destino, Giordano’s Andrea Chenier; Des Grieux in Manon, Massenet’s Werther; Romeo in Romeo et Juliette and Gounod’s Faust; Hoffman from Les Contes d’Hoffman; Rodolfo in La Boheme, Mario Cavaradossi in Tosca and Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly; Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio; Don José in Bizet’s Carmen; the italian tenor in Der Rosenkavalier, Bacchus from Ariadne auf Naxos and Henry Morosus in Strauss’ Die schweigsame Frau; Lensky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin; Mozart’s Idomeneo; the lead in Wagner’s Lohengrin and Loge in Das Rheingold.
He was chosen and directed by Herbert von Karajan to record Die Zauberflöte and debut in the 1980’s Salzburg Festival. That same year in Munich, he performed the role of Belmonte in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, under the direction of Karl Böhm, in which would be the last apparition of the famous orchestra director. In 1983 he made a successful debut in Viena as Des Grieux in a Jean Pierre Ponnelle production of Manon and was directed by Ken Russell as lead role in Gounod’s Faust.
Araiza has been honored with awards that include the Best Musical Event Award of 1988 for his lied recital in Tokyo, Japan. He received a public ovation and press for his meaningful debut as Lohengrin in Teatro La Fenice in Venice, under the baton of Christian Thielemann, as well as for the role of Walter von Stolzing in the new production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, produced by Otto Schenk and directed by James Levine. Among other international awards with which he has been distinguished are Orphée d´Or for Il Barbiere di SIviglia recording with Sir Neville Marriner; Kammersänger from Viena State Opera in 1988; Mozart Medal from UNAM in 1991; Mario del Monaco-Otello d´oro Award in 1995; Kammersänger from Zurich Opera; Golden Mercure in 1996 for best performance as an opera singer in Munich; The Dr. Alfonso Ortíz Tirado Medal in Alamos, Sonora in 2008 and the National Institute of Fine Arts Medal.
In 1977 he made his Palacio de Bellas Artes debut in Mexico, as Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. He returned in 1981 to perform as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di SIviglia; in 1986 he offered a grand concert, two years later he performed as Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme.
In 1992 he sang Haydn´s Die Schöpfung within the framework of the Festival del Centro Histórico in Mexico City; that same year he was invited to perform in Bellas Artes Opera, in a recital accompanied by pianist Jean Lemaire. He participated in a tribute gala to soprano Irma González.
He has worked next to important musical diirectors such as Böhm, Kleiber, Giulini, Davis, Levine, Abbado, Muti, Ozawa, Patané, Sawallisch, Harnoncourt and Barenboim; among stage directors with whom he worked are Ponnelle, Kupfer, Everding, Friedrich, Schenk, Strehler, Zeffirelli and Polanski. He has almost fifty recordings and numerous video productions for which he has obtained awards like the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis and Orphée d´Or.
He is the sponsor of the Francisco Araiza voice competition which is carried out annually at the National Music School of Mexico (UNAM). The state of Baden-Wüttenberg granted him the title of Professor – which is the most meaningful award the german government grants- he was invited to be part of the Academic Directors Faculty of the State University of Arts and Music and Performing Arts of Stuttgart.
In 2011 the National Institute of Fine Arts paid him a tribute as a celebration of his forty years of artistic career.
In later years he was head of two formidable artistic galas in Palacio de Bellas Artes, one dedicated to Wagner’s music and the other to Richard Strauss.
In 2016 he had two relevant interventions in the artistic national stage: he participated in the Gala of Three Generations of Tenors, accompanied by his Mexican colleagues Ramón Vargas and Javier Camarena, in an exceptional musical evening where the three artists, considered first-rate international figures, shared the stage and the pleasure of performing in their home country. In the Cervantino International Festival he performed Hugo Wolf’s Italian songbook, directed by Araiza himself, accompanied by Croatian soprano Marija Vidovic and Russian pianist Alexander Pashkov.
As another step of collaborating with the National Institute of Fine Arts, Francisco Araiza offered workshops focused on style and vocal technique at the National Conservatory of Music, same institute which presented the Francisco Araiza lecture, dedicated to excellence studies in vocal technique and styling, for advanced students involved in voice careers.