Gencer, Leyla, Turkish soprano; b. Constantinople, Oct. 10, 1924. She studied at the Ankara Cons, with Elvira de Hidalgo; she also studied with ArangiLombardi in Istanbul. After making her operatic debut as Santuzza in Ankara in 1950, she completed her training in Italy with Apollo Granforte. In 1953 she sang in Naples, and then joined Milan’s La Scala in 1956; she also appeared at the San Francisco Opera (1956–58). Her career was mainly concentrated in Europe, where she first sang at the Spoleto Festival (1959), the Salzburg Festival (1961), London’s Covent Garden (1962), the Glyndebourne Festival (1962), and the Edinburgh Festival (1969). Among her admired roles were Donna Anna, Countess Almaviva, Anna Bolena, Norma, Elisabeth de Valois, and Maria Stuarda.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire