Stars to commemorate Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer
The Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIPO) will perform for Istanbul audiences with the leading names of classical music in a special concert to commemorate Leyla Gencer on March 20, as well as a subsequent show on March 24.In its annual concert organized to commemorate Leyla Gencer, one of the legendary sopranos of the 20th century, the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra (BIPO) will bring together Istanbul’s audiences with the leading names of classical music. The orchestra will perform famous Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca opera with soloists from Turkey and abroad.
The concert on March 20 will be held to commemorate Gencer, Turkey’s great gift to the world of opera. Gencer, who was living in Italy, was acclaimed as the last of the legendary divas of the 20th century.
She enjoyed an illustrious career on major opera stages around the world, especially at La Scala, where she was the prima donna for nearly 25 years, with an immense repertoire that embraced 72 roles ranging from lyric soprano to dramatic coloratura. Her many performances are still taken as references throughout the world and she also came to be known as the pioneer of the Donizetti Renaissance for her outstanding performances of the composer’s forgotten operas.
From 1982 on, Gencer dedicated herself to the education of young opera artists. She was the artistic director of the Academy for Opera Artists at the Teatro alla Scala, where she also taught opera interpretation. She also served as the President of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts’ Board of Trustees. Gencer died May 10, 2008.
A soloist, director and the chief dramaturge of the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet since 1980 and currently its chief director, Yekta Kara brings the concert version of Tosca to the stage. Maria José Siri will perform Floria Tosca. Award winning Spanish tenor Alex Vicens will also take the stage for the first time in Istanbul in this concert.
In another concert that will take place March 24 under the baton of British chorus conductor James Judd, Austrian piano virtuoso Markus Schirmer will perform British composer Benjamin Britten’s Piano Concerto. Schirmer is a virtuoso with a wide range of concerto repertoire. He won the award Maestro Pianiste for his Mozart recordings in 2013. Other performances in the concert will include French composer Hector Berlioz’s Le Corsaire overture and Felix Mendelssohn’s Symphony No: 3.
Conductor Judd is known for philharmonic orchestras for which he has so far conducted on the world’s most prominent stages. His name is identified with the Berlin and Israel philharmonic orchestras. Both concerts will be organized at the Lütfi Kırdar Congress and Exhibition Hall in Istanbul.