Istanbul, Aug 13 () - The countdown has begun for the 8th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition final series. The competition, which has introduced many young talents to the international opera stage, will once again host contestants chosen in the preliminary auditions held across Europe.
The final series will run from Sept. 7 to Sept. 11 at the Süreyya Opera House in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul. The international jury of the 8th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition final will be presided by Italian soprano Luciana Serra.
The preliminary auditions of the competition were held in Paris, Berlin, Milan, Warsaw, and Istanbul through the month of June. The international juries, comprising some of the leading figures in the profession, listened to a total of 100 singers from 24 different nations at the auditions.
Forty-two singers from 14 different nations will come to Istanbul to compete in the final series, which will also be attended by agents and artistic managers from all over Europe.
The semi-final of the competition Sept. 10 will be open to the public. The eight finalists will then perform an aria each, accompanied by the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic under the baton of Antonio Pirolli, before the jury and public.
Serra, the presiding member of the jury, has pursued a successful career on the international opera and concert stages, from the Metropolitan to the Covent Garden, from the Salzburg Festival to the Berlin Philharmonic.
The other jury members include David Gowland (Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artists program director), Yekta Kara (chief director of the Turkish State Opera and Ballet General Directorate), Izabella Klosinska (casting director of Opera Narodowa), Fortunato Ortombina (artistic director of La Fenice Opera) and Alain Surrans (director of Opéra de Rennes).
The first prize of the 8th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition is 12,500 euros, second prize is 7,500 euros and third prize is 3,500 euros.
This year’s special awards to be granted by the relevant members of the jury are a three-month scholarship at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala and performing in a production of the Polish National Opera. The winner of the Leyla Gencer Audience Award, granted by the votes of the audience, will perform in a concert at the 44th Istanbul Music Festival.
The competition, organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) together with Accademia Teatro alla Scala, is organized every three years, with preliminary auditions held in six European centers. This year the competition collaborates with the Polish National Opera, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the Kadıköy Municipality, along with contributions by Borusan Culture and Arts.
Shining stars at the competition
The winner of the 7th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition in 2012, 21-year-old Egyptian soprano Fatma Said, has already made a name for herself, performing most recently in the Human Rights Day Concert held for the first time at the United Nations in Geneva.
After winning the 6th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition, South African soprano Pretty Yende went on to collect all the major awards at the Operalia and has launched a dazzling career which spans major opera houses from the Metropolitan to La Scala.
The Leyla Gencer Voice Competition’s previous winners such as Georgian sopranos Nino Machaidze and Anita Rachvelishvili, Argentinean tenor Marcello Alvarez and Yugoslavian baritone Nikola Mijailovic are now counted amongst the brightest stars of the opera world.