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Leyla Gencer
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Vocalist
    (October 10, 1928-May 10, 2008)
    Born in Polonezköy, Turkey
    Born to a Turkish father and a Polish mother
    Also known as Ayşe Leyla Çeyrekgil
    Soprano opera singer
    Widely known as 'La Diva Turca' (The Turkish Diva), 'La Regina' (The Queen), or 'The last Diva of the 20th Century'
    Mainly based on La Scala in Milan, Italy
    Recorded 'La Traviata' (1956), 'Don Giovanni' (1960, 1962), 'Roberto Devereux' (1964), 'Lucrezia Borgia' (1966, 1970), 'Polish Songs', 'Macbeth' (1968), and 'La Gioconda' (1972)
    Died in Milan, Italy
    Her birth year was sometimes listed as 1924.
    For a short time when she was 16, she had the hots for a 34-year-old Polish architect.
    If her mother didn't enroll her to the Istanbul Conservatory, she could have ended up marrying him.
    She had an affair with American ambassador to Turkey George McGhee. (1951-1953)
    She was rumored to have the entire Turkish government wrapped around her finger, having them do her bidding as she pleased.
    Her father died when she was young.
    She reintroduced many forgotten Romantic-era operas to the stage, boosting their popularity as a result.
    She toured extensively, traveling to countries like the United States, United Kingdom, France, Poland, and the Soviet Union.
    She was hailed as a role model for women in the arts back in her native Turkey, where they issued a commemorative coin with her image.
    She helped train young opera singers from 1982 up to her death.

Credit: Big Lenny


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