Richard Tucker Day 2014: August 28, 2014

On Aug 28, Third Annual Richard Tucker Day in NYC Honors Late Tenor with Free Opera Performances, Deli Sandwiches, Baseball, and More

The third annual Richard Tucker Day in New York City – honoring the iconic Brooklyn-born tenor who transitioned from cantor to star of the Metropolitan Opera – took place this year on Thursday August 28, the 101st anniversary of the singer’s birth. To observe the occasion, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation led celebrations throughout the city and online in collaboration with a number of New York institutions, including the New York Mets, Junior’s restaurant, the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, WQXR’s Operavore and more. In addition, the foundation presented two free opera performances, one in the afternoon at Bowling Green Park and another in the evening at the Society for Ethical Culture. Both concerts featured singers who have been supported by the Foundation through its awards and grants.

The leading American tenor of his day, and as Opera News put it “King of the Met during the 1950s and ’60s,” native New Yorker Richard Tucker has already been recognized in a number of ways for his invaluable contribution to the cultural life of the city. The park adjacent to Lincoln Center has been designated “Richard Tucker Square,” with a bronze portrait bust of the singer, and last year Richard Tucker Centennial Day was celebrated with a concert in Central Park and a panel discussion on the tenor’s legacy that featured Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, tenor Neil Shicoff, and the late tenor’s eldest son, Barry Tucker.

“I’m thrilled that we are celebrating Richard Tucker Day for a third year in a row and making it an annual tradition,” says Barry Tucker, who serves as President of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. “It would make my father proud that we are able to serve the New York City community by presenting opera performances that are free and open to the public.”

Highlights of the festivities planned for the third annual Richard Tucker Day on Thursday, August 28 included the following:

• Opera singers who are recipients of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s awards and grants, as well as a few surprise special guests, serenaded tourists, stockbrokers and the New York City public with “Arias in the Afternoon,” a free concert presented by the Foundation from 12:30pm to 1:30pm at Bowling Green Park in the Financial District. Richard Tucker used to frequent the park in his youth when he worked as a runner on Wall Street; the late tenor’s interest in the stock market was passed down to his son Barry, who in addition to running the Foundation has had a lifelong career in finance.
• At 7pm in the evening, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation presented a free concert featuring winners of the Foundation’s awards and grants at the Society for Ethical Culture at 2 W. 64th St. at Central Park West. The program featured three Richard Tucker Award-winners – mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, soprano Ailyn Pérez, and tenor Stephen Costello – as well as Career and Study Grant recipients including counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, soprano Erin Morley, soprano Amanda Majeski, soprano Wendy Bryn Harmer, baritone Nicholas Pallesen, and tenor Andrew Stenson.
• Tenor Dimitri Pittas, a New York native and Queens resident who won a 2006 Richard Tucker Career Grant and 2005 Sara Tucker Study Grant, performed the national anthem before the New York Mets hosted the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field at 7:10pm.
• Throughout the day, Junior’s restaurant – a New York City institution for more than 60 years – brought back its off-menu special sandwich, “The Richard Tucker Reuben,” which was created last year in honor of Richard Tucker Centennial Day and pays tribute to the American tenor’s given name, Rubin. The sandwich, a variation on the traditional Reuben, includes both pastrami and corned beef, two of Richard Tucker’s favorite deli meats, and was available at Junior’s original Brooklyn location at 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension.
WQXR 105.9 FM, New York’s classical music radio station, presented Richard Tucker recordings on Operavore, its online opera stream (
• The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall led online celebrations by posting Richard Tucker-related content on their respective social media channels.

August 19th, 2014 |