R.I.P. Leyla Gencer

I recently wrote a blog entry about a new release on Arthaus Musik, The Opera Fanatic. It couldn’t be more timely. La Cieca reported today that one of the divas profiled in the film, Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer has died.

In The Opera Fanatic, Gencer commented, “When you sing, you have to feel what you are saying…I actually cried on stage. Once in a while [it was more than once in a while, but who cares], a note would issue forth which was not orthodox. That’s why the American critics don’t like me. But I don’t care. They want music with water and soap.” Yes, this was the woman who years after her career had ended could still demand she be interviewed at La Scala.

Born in 1928, Gencer premiered the role of Madame Lidoine in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites at La Scala in 1957. However, she was best known for her dramatic coloratura roles in operas of Donizetti and Verdi. Rest in peace—and with Callas, Madame Gencer.