While candidates from all over the world rush to apply for the 7th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition, the organization committee announced to have extended the deadline for a week. The committee finally revealed the names on the jury as well, to the satisfaction and delight of the opera circles as much as the contestants.

Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, together with Accademia del Teatro alla Scala announced to have extended the deadline for applications to the 23rd of April. The explanation reads, "We have been notified by applicants of the delays in the post due to the Easter Holiday and we would not like any of our applicants to experience any inconvenience because of this. Therefore, we have extended the application deadline to 23 April, Monday in order to allow enough time for all applications to reach us." The organization committee further reminded that the applications were also accepted by email this year, which in fact offered a much more convenient means.

The 7th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition's jury welcomes some of the most influential figures in the profession this year. As it reveals, Italian diva Mirella Freni will be presiding the jury at the final series. Casting Manager of Teatro alla Scala Ilias Tzempetonidis, Artistic Director of Teatro la Fenice Fortunato Ortombina, Opera Magazine Editor John Allison, pianist Vincenzo Scalera who is also a teacher at Scala's Academy, and Turkish State Opera and Ballet Chief Director Yekta Kara are among the jurors of this edition.

Having crowned such international stars as Pretty Yende, Nino Machaidze, Marcello Alvarez when they were yet on the brink of their professional careers, the 7th Leyla Gencer Voice Competition sets out once more to discover the new stars of the opera world. The preliminary auditions will be held in six European countries this year: Berlin (26 April), London (4 May), Vienna (7 May), Madrid (10 May), Milan (14 May), and Istanbul (16-17 May). The final series will then be held in Istanbul between the 15th and 20th of September 2012.

Leyla Gencer Voice Competition is organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts together with the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala. The Accademia launches a new special award this year, which will grant a three-month scholarship at the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala to one of the finalists. Another new award to be introduced this year is the Audience Award sponsored by the Doğuş Group with the prize set as a performance at the 2013 D-Marin Turgutreis Classical Music Festival. The three major prizes stay the same: 1st prize is 12,500 Euros, 2nd prize 7,500 Euros and the 3rd prize is 3,500 Euros.

All information and requirements are to be found on the competition website, which also has extensive information on "La Diva Turca" Leyla Gencer: www.leylagencer.org