La Cieca presents with pride her latest installment of Unnatural Acts of Opera, the Donizetti rarity Belisario, featuring legendary Leyla Gencer as vengeful Roman matron Antonina. Read more »
Leyla Gencer: The very name is exotic. She was an artist of Turkish ancestry who, during the 1950s and 60s, held her own despite the presence of Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballe, and Magda Olivero, all of whom shared roles in her repertoire. Ironically, Gencer has a number of important credits attached to her name that many tend to forget. Wrongly viewed as the poor man’s Callas, Gencer actually showed more versatility than her Greek contemporary.
Born in 1924, during the early part of her career she was known as a champion of modern works and sang in the world premiere of a number of operas, including Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites (Mme Lidoine), Pizzetti’s Assassinio nella Cattedrale (Murder in the Cathedal), Prokofiev’s Fiery Angel (the Italian premiere at Spoleto) and Rocca’s Monte Ivnor. During her career, she had a repertoire of some 70 roles, from Monteverdi and Bellini to Pizzetti and Weinberger. Read more »
Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) is opera on the grand scale with mellifluous arias and breathtaking duets that tell a tale of ancient Roman political machinations, adultery, and murder in which there is no true protagonist. This stunningly expressive music is performed by an all-star cast. Soprano Miah Persson, praised by The New York Times for her “sumptuous sound and elegant lyricism,” is joined by singers who have all won worldwide critical acclaim for their mastery of this beautiful repertoire. The Guardian wrote that “there are few performers better-versed in the music of Claudio Monteverdi than Rinaldo Alessandrini and the ensemble he founded 30 years ago, Concerto Italiano.” Alessandrini and company anchor a performance that promises to be one of the season’s most thrilling nights of opera.
Well, in fact your doyenne just warbles a few bars of a dear old Jerry Herman tune, but the real news is the second part of Montserrat CaballÃ©‘s legendary New York debut as Lucrezia Borgia.
Interview with Leyla Gencer in 2007. [kml_flashembed movie=”http://youtube.com/v/5q4je2G7YpE” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /]
[This article originally appeared in the print zine precursor to this site, one of a series of surveys of live recordings by critic LeÃ¯la de LakmÃ©.] Leyla Gencer. The very name is exotic. She was an artist of Turkish ancestry who, during the 1950s and 60s, held her own despite the presence of Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballe, and Magda Olivero, all of whom shared roles in her repertoire. Ironically, Gencer has a number of important credits attached to her name that many tend to forget. Wrongly viewed as the poor man’s Callas, the Turkish soprano actually […]
“La Diva Turca” died this morning in Milan. In tribute to the art of Leyla Gencer, here is the soprano in the final scenes of Bellini’s Norma at La Scala on January 13, 1965. She is joined in this performance by Bruno Prevedi (Pollione) and Nicola Zaccaria (Oroveso); Gianandrea Gavazzeni is the conductor. UPDATE: The “Queen of the Pirates” is heard in complete performances of La Vestale, Francesca da Rimini, Don Giovanni and La Gioconda on Leyla Gencer at Unnatural Acts of Opera. Also, one of the cher public informs La Cieca that Gencer’s true year of birth was 1924, […]