Luciana Serra chairs 8th Leyla Gencer Competition

Celebrated Italian soprano Luciana Serra (pictured, above) will preside over the jury for the 8th edition of the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition, taking place this September at Süreyya Opera House in Istanbul.

Serra, famed for her work with Vienna State Opera, will lead the jury in its selection of a single winner from 42 quarter finalists. This year’s competition will see representation from 15 nationalities competing for a first prize pot worth €12,500, second prize worth €7,500, and third prize worth €3,500.

The competition is coordinated by İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) in partnership with Accademia Teatro alla Scala, and is dedicated to the memory of ‘La Diva Turca’, Leyla Gencer.

Leyla Gencer in Britten's Albert Herring', La Scala, Milan, 1980
Leyla Gencer in Britten’s Albert Herring’, La Scala, Milan, 1980

Leyla Gencer was committed to encouraging new talent via the pedagogical approaches of teaching, tutoring and workshops. She took an active role in the competition, frequently serving on the jury until her death in 2008.

Launched in 1995, the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition was taken over by ISKV in 2006 and has since been held as a biennial event, renowned for its habit of unearthing a hotbed of operatic talent. Former winners include Albanian mezzo-soprano Enkelejda Shkosa, who has frequently performed at London’s Royal Opera House; Nino Machaidze, who sings with LA Opera; and Norway’s Hege Gustava Tjønn.

Three non-cash prizes are also awarded by the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition: the Accademia Teatro alla Scala Special Award (a three-month scholarship at the Accademia Teatro alla Scala); the Polish National Opera Special Award, which grants a place in a Polish National Opera production to the winner; and the Leyla Gencer Audience Award for which the winner benefits from a concert appearance at Istanbul Music Festival.

The quarter finals take place on 7 September, the semi-finals on 9 September, and the finals on 11 September. Tickets are currently on sale to the public.