09 October 2015


Leyla Gencer bid her farewell to the opera scene in 1985 with her performance of Francesco Gnecco's La Prova di un'Opera Seria at La Fenice Theatre, though she continued singing at concerts and recitals until 1992.

From 1982 on, Leyla Gencer dedicated herself to the education of young opera artists. She worked as the Didactic Artistic Director of As.Li.Co. of Milan between 1983-88 and was appointed by Maestro Riccardo Muti to run La Scala's School for Young Artists (Academia Teatro alla Scala) between 1997-98. Until her passing in 2008, Gencer was the Artistic Director of the academy for opera artists in Teatro alla Scala, where she was also teaching opera interpretation. She also served as the president of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts' board of trustees.

Leyla Gencer achieved her remarkable presence in the opera world not only by the variety of her repertoire, but also with the dramatic nuances that she attributed to the roles she performed. A dedicated researcher and teacher, she reintroduced many forgotten works of the romantic period to the opera stages.

During her activity at As.Li.Co. and La Scala, Gencer contiuned searching for the unkown. Vivaldi’s opera Il Giustino was revived after so many years thanks to her researches. At La Scala Academy she worked on neglected or lesser staged operas and trained many singers. Being the president of the of Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts' board of trustees, Gencer worked as the consultant and coordinator of two opera productions realized in Istanbul Music Festival. One of them was Bertoni’s Orfeo (1997) conducted by Claudio Schimone and directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi.  The second opera was Vivaldi’s long neglected opera Bajazet (1999) conducted by Fabio Biondi and once again directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi at Hagia Eirene Museum- a Byzantine church from the 5th century.

During her career Gencer gave many seminars. Some of them are: 1976 Gerssan, Aosta- Seminar on Il Trovatore, Venice- Seminar on Donizetti, 1982 Trieste- Donizetti Seminar, 1985 Montpellier Singing Academy- Seminar on Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, 1985 Savona-Donizetti Conference, 1987 Teatro La Fenice Venice- Seminar on Italian Opera, 1989 Istanbul -Seminar on Donizetti, 1989 Arenzano-Seminar on Donizetti,  1990 Istanbul -Seminar on Rossini.

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