Author Topic: Leyla Gencer  (Read 2523 times)

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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Leyla Gencer
« on: August 14, 2009, 07:57:16 PM »
Leyla Gencer (October 10, 1928 – May 10, 2008) was a world-renowned Turkish soprano opera singer, born in Istanbul as the daughter of a Turkish father and Polish mother.

Known as "La Diva Turca" (The Turkish Diva) and "La Regina" (The Queen) in the opera world, Gencer was a notable bel canto soprano who spent most of her career in Italy, from the early 1950s through the mid-1980s, and had a repertoire encompassing more than seventy roles. She made very few commercial recordings; however, In particular, Gencer was associated with the heroines of Donizetti.

In 1953, Gencer made her Italian debut at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples as Santuzza. She returned to Naples the following year for performances of Madama Butterfly and Eugene Onegin. In 1957, she made her debut at La Scala in Milan as Mme. Lidoine in the world premiere of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites. She went on to appear regularly at La Scala, performing nineteen roles between 1957 and 1983, including Leonora in La Forza del Destino, Elisabetta in Don Carlos, Aïda, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Norma, Ottavia in L'Incoronazione di Poppea, and Alceste.

In 1962, Gencer made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Elisabetta di Valois and as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She made her U.S. debut at the San Francisco Opera in 1956 as Francesca in Francesca da Rimini. She sang at other American opera houses as well, but never sang at the Metropolitan Opera, though there had been discussions for her to sing Tosca there in 1956.

In 1985, Gencer retired from the operatic stage with a performance of Gnecco's La Prova di un'Opera Seria eria at La Fenice. She continued to appear in concerts until 1992. As of 2007, she was still active, and had recently been appointed by La Scala's music director Riccardo Muti to run its school for young artists.

Throughout her career, Gencer was known primarily as a Donizetti interpreter. Among her best-known Donizetti performances are Belisario, Poliuto, Anna Bolena, Lucrezia Borgia, Maria Stuarda, and Caterina Cornaro. Her most acclaimed and best-known performance, though, was in Roberto Devereux, which she sang in Naples in 1964.

...from Wikipedia

To get the ball rolling, a very regal Leonora in Trovotore. (It really blew me away.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxnYGDtFs3g&feature=related

A true Verdi voice in Aida:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpy6GwJiQUs&feature=related

(I thought she really deserved a thread of her own...)
ZB
« Last Edit: August 14, 2009, 08:02:02 PM by zamyrabyrd »
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Sarastro

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Re: Leyla Gencer
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2009, 08:20:18 PM »
 :D :D :D

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Leyla Gencer
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2009, 08:48:06 PM »
I like to make people :D, so here are more treats:

Tosca I wish there was a way to filter out the noise from the audience--not a very good recording--but at least worth the photos of a fascinating, dramatic face and demeanor.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2mIgGWVFQI&feature=related

The last scene of Norma, so much pathos in the voice:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bC4QUN6Hco&feature=related

Wally, magnetic pathos as well as bulls-eye onset of the tone:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pObSEqgaNJY&feature=related

ZB

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Sarastro

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Re: Leyla Gencer
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2009, 09:01:58 PM »
I like to make people :D

I hope more people will discover Leyla Gencer. It is certainly a better choice than miss Netrebko or Garanca. ::) (sorry)

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Leyla Gencer
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2009, 03:05:37 AM »
I hope more people will discover Leyla Gencer. It is certainly a better choice than miss Netrebko or Garanca. ::) (sorry)

Don't be sorry.  I couldn't agree more with your choice.

Coincidentally, there was a rerun the other night of the last episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" 2008. Debbie Allen, one of the judges, admitted that both the hip hop dancers were excellent but she cast her vote for the "theatrical" one rather than the "musical" dancer, saying that the first trumped the second. 

In opera, maybe that is true. Gencer pulls out all the dramatical stops, not letting you forget this is theatre. (No need to remind one of Callas here.) Impeccable voice production, a la Sutherland, well, that is nice for oratorio, also perhaps operas in which the expression is more embedded in the music, in other words, follow the directions and you're more than 90% there. Schwartzkopf was more apt to derive the expression through the music and words, a more intellectual approach, also valid.

Gencer was endowed with a great instrument to begin with and seems like she settled into her most comfortable Fach for herself. Yes, probably she was not appreciated enough. Now, if she married a Meneghini or Legge, who knows what the course of her career would have been?

ZB
 
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Sarastro

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Re: Leyla Gencer
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2009, 07:30:09 PM »
An article + an interview with Leyla - http://www.belcantosociety.org/pages/gencer.html

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Leyla Gencer
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2009, 11:17:23 PM »
An article + an interview with Leyla - http://www.belcantosociety.org/pages/gencer.html

Interesting article, maybe even too self-depreciating. Some people would not notice the faults, so why announce them? She knew, though, she had the "sacred fire".

Just technical, though, about some inconsistencies in the article. She said later on that she had a high Eb, so how could the French teacher "destroy" her high F and bring the voice down to an A below the high C?
Young singers can have higher notes, but the high Eb is usually the limit for her type of dramatic Fach when her instrument is fully developed. Notes don't disappear from the vocal chords but a too heavy approach prevents the freedom needed to float up there.

Also, "she didn't have chest resonance by nature". Well, everybody has chest tones, even male countertenors who opt not to use it.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline Slezak

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Re: Leyla Gencer
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2009, 09:44:57 AM »
  Gencer was certainly one of the great sopranos of her time, and it's astonishing that she was hardly ever recorded commercially. She, Maria Callas, and Margherita Roberti(also not commercially recorded), were very important in resurrecting the early works of Verdi, and a lot of the neglected bel canto period operas. Even at the end of her career, when her voice was a bit ragged, she was absolutely electrifying; a good example is the New Jersey Opera "Attila".  SS