Late soprano’s house to boost Safranbolu tourism
The belongings of Leyla Gencer, considered one of the important sopranos of the 20th century, will be exhibited at her father’s hometown, Safranbolu, in the northern province of Karabük.
Gencer, a notable “bel canto” soprano, passed away 13 years ago in Milan. The soprano, who spent most of her career in Italy, became famous as “La Diva Turca,” “La Gencer” and “La Regina.”
The Safranbolu Culture and Tourism Foundation has initiated a project to introduce opera singer Gencer. In this context, a commemoration program will be held in the village of Yörük on May 10 to mark the 13th anniversary of Gencer’s death.
The restoration work that started in the village house to keep Gencer’s memories alive will be accelerated, and her belongings that have been kept in a warehouse in Istanbul will be shifted there, giving visitors an opportunity to visit the house and see Gencer’s belongings closely.
Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, Safranbolu Culture and Tourism Foundation President Şefik Dizdar said that as the foundation, they undertook a duty to highlight the cultural assets of Safranbolu.
Dizdar emphasized that organizing a memorial night for Gencer is their main duty, adding, “May 10 is the death anniversary of Gencer. That’s why we will organize a memorial night here. We started working immediately.”
Noting that Gencer was famous worldwide, Dizdar said, “We want to introduce our international artist and keep her name alive. With her memory, we will carry out works that will highlight the cultural heritage of Safranbolu.”
Stating that these programs may turn into festivals in the coming years, Dizdar said that the foundation will organize all the events.
Emphasizing that they will first contact her relatives and carry out joint work, Dizdar said: “On this occasion, we believe that the region will become better known. We believe that it will contribute to Safranbolu tourism. We will repair her house in the village as soon as possible to display her items. We have a goal to increase the tourism potential of the village.”
Gencer was born on Oct. 10, 1928 in Istanbul’s Polonezköy Village. The artist, who started her solo career in 1950 in the Ankara State Theater with the role of Santuzza in “Cavalleria Rusticana,” stood before the audience for the first time in Italy.
Gencer became known worldwide as “La Diva Turca,” “La Gencer” and “La Regina,” thanks to her rich repertoire and excellent technique.
Performing in Milan, Rome, Naples, Venice, Vienna, Paris, San Francisco, Cologne, Buenos Aires, London, Rio de Janerio, Bilbao and Chicago, the artist became the voice of Lucia, Norma, Lady Macbeth, Queen Elizabeth, Filoria Tosca, Lucrezia, Madame Butterfly, Alceste, Aida, Violetta and Leonora.
The artist, who included 72 works of 23 composers in her repertoire throughout her career, continued performing her concerts until 1992. Gencer, who raised young artists by focusing on her education career in the following years, died on May 10, 2008.