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  • Cicciabella: Thanks, Orion. Alagna keeps going from strength to strength. In this clip he’s got the... 3:47 AM
  • m. croche: Hi there, Batty! I think the iconoclasm is pretty much on the surface. None of the panelists think... 1:44 AM
  • parpignol: I thought that at the end, with ‘bell’ alma innamorata’ we got a little bit of a... 1:16 AM
  • DeepSouthSenior: Any mention of Garanca catches my attention. We’ve been round and round about this... 12:26 AM
  • m. croche: Perhaps we can stipulate that it is always harder to do something convincingly than to do... 12:20 AM
  • Batty Masetto: If this was supposed to be about iconoclasm, Barry has an odd way of explaining it. The... 12:18 AM
  • LT: I was there. Certainly a big success for him. First time hearing him live. Yes, it’s a big voice,... 12:10 AM
  • Camille: ORION! thanks a billion for all the reports!!! I can hardly wait to hear it on the 18th! GRAND... 11:56 PM
  • Camille: Just back from the Lucia. No fooling at all, a beautiful representation of the role of Edgardo. The... 11:54 PM
  • Belfagor: Well it is much easier to smash something down than to build something convincingly new. It... 11:51 PM

the art of bellicose canto

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 »

queen of the pirates

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 »

la cieca sings again

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 Caballé‘s legendary New York debut as Lucrezia Borgia.

Lucrezia Borgia Act 1

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the art of the diva anecdote

Interview with Leyla Gencer in 2007. [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/5q4je2G7YpE" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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Queen of the Pirates

[This article originally appeared in the print zine precursor to this site, one of a series of surveys of live recordings by critic Leïla de Lakmé.] 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 [...]

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Leyla Gencer 1928 – 2008

“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, [...]

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