Awards and Grants

Jamie 2

The Richard Tucker Award

2015 Richard Tucker Award Winner Jamie Barton

The Richard Tucker Award is selected by conferral, rather than audition. This prestigious award carries not only the name of Richard Tucker and a cash prize of $50,000, but also a stellar list of past recipients. The operative guideline for the Richard Tucker Award is that it be awarded to an American singer poised on the edge of a major national and international career, and it is hoped that the award acts as a well-timed catalyst to elevate the artist’s career to even greater heights. 

 The Richard Tucker Music Foundation is delighted to announce that mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton—whom the New Yorker has praised as “a fresh wonder of the opera world, possessing a voice of preternatural beauty and power”—is the winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award. Often referred to as the “Heisman Trophy of Opera,” this prestigious honor carries the foundation’s most generous cash prize, $50,000, and is conferred annually by a panel of opera industry professionals on an American singer at the threshold of a major international career. Previous winners of the award include such luminaries as Renée Fleming, Lawrence Brownlee, Stephanie Blythe, David Daniels, Angela Meade and Joyce DiDonato.

 “I don’t think I’ve ever been as speechless as I was when Barry Tucker called me to give me the news that I’d won the Richard Tucker Award,” said Barton on the phone from Houston, where she is currently singing Fricka in Die Walküre with the Houston Grand Opera. “I’m overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude. The Tucker Foundation has been a musical family for me for years now, and to be given its top prize is an absolute honor.”

“I first heard Jamie Barton at the 2012 Tucker auditions when she sang ‘O mio Ferrando’ from Donizetti’s La Favorita – she gave me goose-bumps,” recalled Barry Tucker, president of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and son of the Brooklyn-born tenor. “When I heard her, I thought to myself: ‘This is a once-in-a-generation voice.’ We are absolutely elated that she is our 2015 Richard Tucker Award winner.”  

Jamie Barton

The winner of both the Main and the Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton has been described by The Guardian as “a great artist, no question, with an imperturbable steadiness of tone, and a nobility of utterance that invites comparison not so much with her contemporaries as with mid-20th century greats such as Kirsten Flagstad.” She is also a winner of the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Grammy nominee, a 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant winner, and the Kennedy Center’s 2014 Marian Anderson Award recipient.

The mezzo-soprano’s 2014-15 season began with a debut at the San Francisco Opera as Adalgisa in Norma, a role that she previously sang to acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera, and followed with her first performances as Giovanna Seymour in Anna Bolena in a return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. This summer she debuts the role of Azucena in Il Trovatore with the Cincinnati Opera and makes her company debut with the Seattle Opera as Fenena in Nabucco. Earlier this season Barton was a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in performances Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In coming months on the concert stage, she gives the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s The Work at Hand with the Pittsburgh Symphony and performs Verdi’s Requiem with the Toronto Symphony, adding to previous performances with the likes of the Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Melbourne Symphony. Barton has appeared in recital at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, among other top stages. She also been featured as a guest soloist in the Marilyn Horne Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall and at the Richard Tucker Gala at Avery Fisher Hall. Future projects include returns to the Metropolitan Opera and the Houston Grand Opera and debuts at London’s Royal Opera House, Oper Frankfurt, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Los Angeles Opera and Washington National Opera, all in leading roles. A graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Barton attended Indiana University in Bloomington and received extensive training as a recitalist at Tanglewood Music Center.

For more information on Jamie, please visit her website at


Richard Tucker Award Winners

2014 Michael Fabiano
Isabel Leonard
2012 Ailyn Pérez
2011 Angela Meade
2010 James Valenti
2009 Stephen Costello
2008 No Award Given
2007 Brandon Jovanovich
2006 Lawrence Brownlee
2005 Eric Cutler
2004 Matthew Polenzani
2003 John Relyea
2002 Joyce DiDonato
2001 Christine Goerke
2000 Gregory Turay
1999 Stephanie Blythe
1998 Patricia Racette
1997 David Daniels
1996 Dwayne Croft
1995 Paul Groves
1994 Jennifer Larmore
1993 Ruth Ann Swenson
1992 Deborah Voigt
1991 No Award Given
1990 Renée Fleming
1989 Margaret Jane Wray
1988 Richard Leech
1987 Harry Dworchak
1986 Dolora Zajick
1985 Aprile Millo
1984 Roger Roloff
1983 Susan Dunn
1982 No Award Given
1981 J. Patrick Raftery
1980 Barry McCauley
1979 Diana Soviero
1978 Rockwell Blake