Leyla Gencer


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(b Istanbul, 10 Oct 1928; d Milan, 9 May 2008). Turkish soprano. A pupil of Giannina Arangi-Lombardi, she made her début at Ankara in 1950 as Santuzza, the role of her Italian début at the Arena Flegrea, Naples, in 1953. She sang at La Scala in 1957 as Madame Lidoine in the world première of Francis Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites. Subsequently she appeared throughout Europe and America, but until her retirement in 1983 was most often heard in Italy. Although her voice was limited in volume and not very even, she was able, thanks to her technique, strong temperament and theatrical intelligence, to tackle with success such dramatic roles as Gioconda and Aida. Lighter roles such as Gilda and Amina made the best use of her vocal flexibility and impressive soft singing; but her interpretative powers found most scope in the dramatic coloratura repertory, particularly in Gaetano Donizetti and early Giuseppe Verdi: Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra, Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, Lucrezia Borgia, Attila, I due Foscari and La battaglia di Legnano.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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