2018 The Story of a primadonna [EN]

The Story of a Primadonna

Franca Cella 2018 (English)
Published by Bolis Edition                                     

Updated and English version of Franca Cella’s 1986 book Romanzo vero di una primadonna.

Sponsored by Borusan Sanat

IL SOLE                                        

LA REPUBBLICA                                       

Leyla Gencer Turca Napoletana

2021.10.21 [05.00 PM CET Zoom Meeting]

The story of a primadonna
by Franca Cella

Franca Cella (Musicologist – Author)
Serhan Bali (Publisher – Editor in chief of “Andante”, Turkey’s Classical Music Magazine, Istanbul)
Paolo Cesaretti (University of Bergamo and Bolis Edizioni)
Ahmet Etem Erenli (General Coordinator, Borusan Foundation, Istanbul)
Vincenzo De Vivo (Artistic Director, Teatro delle Muse, Ancona and Accademia d’Arte Lirica, Osimo)
Materials to be shown and/or “shared” via zoom
Bolis Edizioni takes care of one material copy of the book and PDF/PPT of various pages of the book
Participants are enabled to “share” other materials (video, pictures) at their choice   
Welcome and presentation of participants
The book as it is (mention of availability also in ebook form)
Introduction of FC who speaks about her presentation of Leyla in the former book and in this one
Homage to Leyla Gencer: video (“Trovatore”) (FC “shares” it)
Introduction of AEE who speaks about Borusan’s support to the book and about Leyla herself  
Introduction of SB who speaks of his theme
Introduction of VDV who speaks about Leyla as a “bridge” between past and future
Ahmet Etem Erenli’s speech:

Good evening,
First of all, I would like to tell of myself very briefly: I was the director of the Istanbul Music Festival between 1999 and 2006 at the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, where I started working in 1988. Between 2006 and 2020, I was the general manager of Borusan
Sanat, an initiative of the Borusan Kocabıyık Foundation, where I currently work.
In 2006, I was the director of the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. Also, Borusan Sanat is one of the sponsors of this competition. Since 2018, we have been co-directing this competition with Yeşim Gürer Oymak.
Especially, I would like to speak of my relationship with Leyla Gencer. I met her in 1995 and we worked very closely until she passed away. She pioneered the staging of Vivaldi’s Bajazet opera in Istanbul together with Fabio Biondi and Pier Luigi Pizzi for the first time. Our subsequent collaborations continued with the first Istanbul concert of maestro Riccardo Muti and La Scala, and Piccolo Teatro’s Cosi fan Tutte opera in the festival program. In 2006, we organized the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition together.
As Borusan Sanat, we staged many operas in memory of Leyla Gencer every year with Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra for 10 years after her death. We supported the publication of two books, one in Turkish. We have made all her recordings accessible through our Music Library and released a CD recording of three operas (Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, Roberto Devereux) under the name of Donizetti Queens. Also became venue sponsors for various exhibitions and of course we made many memorial programs on our online radio channel Borusan Klasik.
Borusan Sanat, an initiative of the Borusan Kocabıyık Foundation, has given great support to the commemoration of Leyla Gencer in Turkey and abroad since 2008.
Of course, without the great support of Zeynep Hamedi, Chairperson of Executive Board of the Foundation, I would not have been able to achieve such a great support alone.
Now I will say a few words about the book: As you know, the first edition of Franca Cella’s book was in Italian. When I received this book in the late 1980s, I thought I had found a treasure; but there was a serious problem, I didn’t know Italian and there was no Google Translate at that time. I knew many things about Leyla Gencer, but I couldn’t find enough information about her. I put the book on the shelf and it stayed there for a long time. The plan to translate this book into English was born in the 1990s when excerpts from the book appeared on illegal CDs in English. The information contained here was very interesting and I thought that it should reach audience. Of course, it took a long time to realize this.
While working with Leyla Gencer, I met Franca Cella and her husband, musicologist Lorenzo Arruga. But we decided to publish an updated English translation of the book for the 10th anniversary of Gencer’s death, we started to work with Franca.
The Italian version of the book covered the period of Gencer’s career until 1986. Franca had already prepared the episodes from 1986 to 2008 periods. As for the details, we met with Paolo Cesaretti and Franca many times and worked on the book.

I believe that the analyzes and interpretations in this book are realistic, accurate and unbiased. Cella’s immense point of view, details and depth to Gencer’s opera interpretations are the must-haves in a Gencer book.
I think we published a book of the quality that represents Leyla Gencer.
Ahmet Etem ERENLI