Alberta-born German opera sensation Anna Maria Kaufmann runs with the Olympic
Flame in Calgary on Jan. 19

CALGARY, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - Alberta native Anna Maria Kaufmann is a mega-star in Germany, but she hasn't forgotten her Canadian roots in Alberta. She's coming home to hit some high notes with Canada's Olympic Torch Relay running with the flame through Calgary on Jan. 19.

Kaufmann, Germany's most popular soprano, comes from Lacombe, Alberta, and is an international torchbearer with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada.

"It is a great honor and thrill to participate in the Olympic Torch Relay," says Kaufmann. "I am proud to be from Canada and honored to be a part of this incredible event. Carrying the flame in the relay and passing it on to continue its journey on to Vancouver is something I will never forget. Running in Alberta, where I was raised will be even more special because I will have my family there to watch and cheer me on."

The opera singer's big break came as the female lead in Phantom of the Opera, which she performed more than 500 times. Kaufmann earned a triple platinum CD for sales of more than 1.9 million of the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack. She has performed with operas and orchestras around the world but has also lent her talent to honour great sporting events, singing the national anthem for a global audience of one billion during the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

"We're so excited that Anna Maria Kaufmann is coming home to Alberta to be a part of our Olympic story," says Michele McKenzie, Canadian Tourism Commission president and CEO. "No doubt her fans in Germany and around the world will be watching as she takes up the flame in Calgary, making her hometown friends in Lacombe very proud."

Before her torch run, Kaufmann will enjoy spectacular tourism experiences in her home province, including the Ice on Whyte ice carving festival in Edmonton, a sleigh ride in Banff and exploring the Olympic Oval in Calgary.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), in collaboration with the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), has selected international torchbearers to participate in the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay International Media Program to maximize international media coverage of the relay and spread the excitement and Olympic spirit around the world.

The international torchbearers are from CTC's global markets and include former Olympic athletes as well as entertainers and media celebrities. Their journeys through Canada will be broadcast and shared in their home countries during both the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay and the 2010 Winter Games, all to inspire the world to travel to Canada.

About the CTC

The CTC is Canada's national tourism marketing organization. Our vision is inspiring the world to explore Canada. With our partners in the tourism industry and the governments of Canada, the provinces and the territories, we advertise and market Canada in 12 countries around the world, conduct industry research and studies, and promote product and industry development. For daily updates on CTC initiatives, subscribe to CTC News, available through RSS feeds and by e-mail.


Torchbearer profile


SOURCE Canadian Tourism Commission

For further information: For further information: Meaghan Benmore, Hill & Knowlton Vancouver, Tel: (604) 692-4228, Cell: (604) 340-5025,; Jitka Licenik, Corporate Communications Advisor, Canadian Tourism Commission, Tel: (604) 638-2482, Fax: (604) 638-8438,,

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