August 28, 1913 – January 8, 1975
Richard Tucker was unquestionably America’s greatest tenor. As with many of his contemporaries, the Second World War gave him the opportunity to establish himself in this country, and for the next quarter of a century, no one surpassed this native son in terms of voice, commitment, integrity, and devotion to the lyric art. His standing in his community, both civic and devotional, equaled his renown in the world of music, and his standards are the level by which all are now judged.
Deeply religious, Richard Tucker brought the same compelling feeling to all of his efforts – be they his 724 performances with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and on tour; his extensive catalogue of recordings – classical, popular, religious; his never ending work on behalf of Israel, or his knowledge of himself and his place as a model citizen, artist, and ideal for succeeding generations of singers and Americans, both here and abroad.
He was more than a great singer; he was a great man.
– Merle Hubbard
Richard Tucker Tributes
Written tributes by his colleagues and friends
“Tucker in any era would have been outstanding for his consistent brilliance” – Rudolf Bing, Former General Manager Metropolitan Opera
“Richard Tucker was one of my gods. In my life there has always been that great voice to use as an inspiration” – Luciano Pavarotti
“He was America’s ideal – a pioneer and a beacon to all of us artists” – Marilyn Horne
“There is no question that he was one of the great singers, with a fabulous voice, sensationally endless energy and commitment and a tremendous technical know-how. There are few people one imagines will go on forever. In a sense, Richard Tucker will.” – James Levine
“Richard was an ideal colleague because of many qualities – his sense of obligation to the total performance, his sincerity toward his art, his joviality at rehearsal, his embracing warmth as a human being. He also had another quality – the rarest of all, perhaps – the sound of his voice being infectious. Often I found myself singing better because I was with him.” – Risë Stevens
“One of the phenomenal voices of this century. It was always more and more amazing how fresh and young his voice sounded.” – Joan Sutherland
“I could never get over how fantastically he sustained his vocal powers, how indeed they seemed to grow as time went on. He was a wonderful colleague, and what touched me most was his deep religious belief and his love of his family.” – Leontyne Price
“He was the greatest tenor in the world.” – Robert Merrill