8th Leyla Gencer Voice Competiton Final Series to take place in Istanbul on 6-11 September

Countdown begins 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 the contestants chosen at the preliminary auditions held across Europe.

The Leyla Gencer Voice Competition, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) together with Accademia Teatro alla Scala, is organised every three years, with preliminary auditions held in six European centres. This year the competition enjoys the kind collaboration of the Polish National Opera, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, and Kadikoy Municipality, as well as the contribution of the Borusan Culture and Arts.

The final series will run from Monday, 7 September until Friday, 11 September. The semi-final on Wednesday, 9 September at 11:00 and the final on Friday, 11 September at 20:00, both at the Sureyya Opera House, will be open to public. The international jury of the 8th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition final jury will be presided by the Italian soprano Luciana Serra.

The preliminary auditions attracted young singers from all over the world

The preliminary auditions of the 8th Leyla Gencer Voice 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.

The 42 singers from 14 different nations will now come to Istanbul to compete in the final series, which will also be attended by agents and artistic managers from all over Europe.

The excitement escalates as the finals are upon us

The final series will kick off with the registration and draw on 6 September at the Sureyya Opera House. The contestants will perform their arias with piano accompaniment at the quarter-finals on 7 and 8 September and at the semi-final on 9 September. The semi-final, running from 11:00 till 17:00 on Wednesday, 10 September will be open to 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 at the Sureyya Opera House on Friday,11 September at 20:00.

This year's jury of seven will be presided by the Italian soprano Luciana Serra, who has pursued a succesfull 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 Programme Director), Yekta Kara (Chief Director of 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, the second-prize € 7,500, and the third-prize is € 3,500. 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 Leyla Gencer Audience Award, granted by the votes of the audience, will perform in a concert at the 44th Istanbul Music Festival.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday, 13 August

The prices of the tickets for the semi-final of the 8th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition on 9 September will be 30 TL and 15 TL (student); for the final on 11 September, the ticket prices will be 50 TL and 25 TL (student). The tickets will go on sale on Thursday, 13 August and they will be available on Biletix sales channels and at the İKSV boxoffice without service charges (weekdays between 10:00 and 18:00). Presale tickets up to 25% discount will be available for the Black and White Tulip Card Holders on 10 August and for the Yellow and Red Tulip Card Holders on 11 and 12 August.

Shining Stars at the Leyla Gencer Voice Competition

The winner of the 7th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition in 2012, the 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 launched on a dazzling career that spans the major opera houses from the Metropolitan to La Scala. The Leyla Gencer Voice Competition's previous winners such as the 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.