2016 Richard Tucker Award

Richard Tucker Music Foundation Names Soprano Tamara Wilson as Winner of 2016 Richard Tucker Award

The Richard Tucker Music Foundation is thrilled to announce that soprano Tamara Wilson – whose “voice of steely beauty and great power” (Houston Chronicle) has already won international accolades – has been named as winner of the 2016 Richard Tucker Award. Dubbed the “Heisman Trophy of Opera,” the Tucker Award carries the foundation’s most substantial cash prize of $50,000, and is conferred each year by a panel of opera industry professionals on an American singer at the threshold of a major international career. Featuring such luminaries as Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, David Daniels, Christine Goerke and Joyce DiDonato, the list of past winners reads like a who’s who of American opera.

Wilson says:
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to receive the Richard Tucker Award. The Foundation has supported me since the beginning stages of my career, and to be given its top honor is amazing. I jumped around in my room for a solid ten minutes after my conversation with Barry Tucker!
“The Foundation is an invaluable resource for young American singers, enabling many young artists to jumpstart their careers in ways that would be impossible otherwise, and I look forward to joining the superb artistic ‘family’ of award winners that it has created.”

Barry Tucker, president of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and son of the Brooklyn-born tenor, comments:

“I first met Tamara Wilson when she auditioned for – and won – a Sara Tucker Study Grant in 2008. I was blown away not only by the power and sheer beauty of her voice, but also by how grounded she is as a person. Last year, when I was listening to the Saturday matinee broadcast of Aida from the Met and realized it was her singing the title role, I couldn’t have been more impressed by how she’s evolved as an artist. She has a bright future ahead of her, and we are thrilled to have her as our 2016 Richard Tucker Award winner.”

About Tamara Wilson

American soprano Tamara Wilson made her much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut in December of 2014 in the title role of Aida, when the New York Times praised the “laserlike authority of her high notes,” and observed: “Her voice blooms with her palpable involvement in her own story: Her singing is urgent, her physical performance restrained yet powerful.” Nominated for a 2016 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera after her English National Opera debut last fall as Leonora in La forza del destino, the soprano will make further debuts next season at the Bayerischer Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin. She was a finalist in the 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Grand Prize Winner at Barcelona’s Annual Francisco Viñas Competition, a winner of the George London Award, and the recipient of both a 2008 Sara Tucker Study Grant and a 2011 Richard Tucker Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.

After launching the present season headlining Aida at the Aspen Music Festival, Wilson returned to Oper Frankfurt as Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo; sang Lucrezia in Verdi’s I due Foscari in Santiago, Chile; made her Cleveland Orchestra debut; and joined Marin Alsop for Mahler in São Paulo. Back in the States after touring Japan as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, the soprano looks forward to taking Brahms’s German Requiem on an East Coast tour with Seraphic Fire and singing Desdemona in Otello at Cincinnati’s May Festival, in celebration of James Conlon’s 37th and final year as Music Director. Last season Wilson made her role and house debuts headlining Norma at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, following recent debuts at Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Carnegie Hall. An alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, she is also a graduate of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

April 4th, 2016 |


2016 Grant Winners Announced


Congratulations to the 2016 Grant winners!

Sara Tucker Study Grants

Michael Brandenburg, tenor
Nicholas Brownlee,bass-baritone
Samantha Hankey, mezzo-soprano
Megan Mikailovna Samarin, mezzo-soprano
Laura Wilde, soprano

Richard Tucker Career Grants

J’nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Joshua Guerrero, tenor
Amanda Woodbury, soprano

March 17th, 2016 |


Gala Highlights on WQXR

WQXR‘s program of highlights from our 2015 Gala is now available for streaming at

Please visit Live from Lincoln Center  to stream the telecast, which premiered on Friday, February 5th on PBS.

We hope you can tune in!



February 1st, 2016 |

Sing for Hope image

Richard Tucker Music Foundation Sings for Hope!

On December 15th at noon at the Mount Sinai Fifth Avenue Atrium the Tucker Foundation presented a holiday concert  in partnership with Sing for Hope.  Richard Tucker Career Grant winners Nadine Sierra, Jennifer Johnson Cano, Dimitri Pittas and Brandon Cedel performed with pianist Michael Fennelly in a program of holiday-themed classics in a concert serving the Mount Sinai community as well as being open to the public free of charge.

This concert marked the inauguration of a new partnership between the Richard Tucker Foundation and Sing for Hope that will expand upon the Foundation’s long tradition of presenting free community concerts.  The new partnership will bring singers supported by the Foundation to Sing for Hope’s arts outreach programs, serving under-resourced schools and hospitals across the five boroughs of New York City and bringing world-class musical experiences to a wider public.

In the words of Renée Fleming, a Sing for Hope board member and winner of the 1990 Richard Tucker Award, “Sing for Hope is dedicated to bringing the healing power of art to those who need it most. In today’s world, that feels more urgent than ever.”

To learn more about Sing for Hope and this new partnership, please visit their website here

December 9th, 2015 |


Gala 2015 – Sunday, November 1 at 6:30 pm

Gala 2015 was held on Sunday November 1, 2015 at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall

Richard Tucker Music Foundation
Gala 2015

Piotr Beczala
Andrea Bocelli
Lawrence Brownlee
Stephen Costello
Renée Fleming
George Gagnidze
Angela Gheorghiu
Christine Goerke
Isabel Leonard
Nadine Sierra

Jamie Barton
2015 Richard Tucker Award winner

Maestro Eugene Kohn
Members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
New York Choral Society


For more information and photos of the event, please click here



August 10th, 2015 |

Jamie 2

Jamie Barton – 2015 Richard Tucker Award Winner

Richard Tucker Music Foundation Names American Mezzo-Soprano Jamie Barton as Winner of 2015 Richard Tucker Award

 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 Fernando’ 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.”  

Read more…

April 27th, 2015 |


2015 Tucker Grants Announced


Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Richard Tucker Music Foundation Grants!

For more detailed information, please click here.

Sara Tucker Study Grants

Julie Adams, Soprano

D’Ana Lombard, Soprano

Sean Michael Plumb, Baritone

Reginald Smith, Jr, Baritone

Richard Tucker Career Grants

Benjamin Bliss, Tenor

Brandon Cedel, Bass-baritone

Michael Sumuel, Bass-baritone

April 27th, 2015 |


Richard Tucker Opera Gala: A New Century

2014 Richard Tucker Gala

The 2014 Richard Tucker Gala was held Sunday, October 12, 2014 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall and was telecast by Live From Lincoln Center on PBS in January, 2015.    The entire concert, along with behind-the-scenes footage and special features, may be viewed at by clicking here.

For pictures from the night of the Gala, please click here

Appearing on the concert were

Ildar Abdrazakov

Paul Appleby

Elena Bocharova

Joseph Calleja

Joyce El-Khoury

Ingeborg Gillebo

Željko Lučić

Angela Meade

Alexandra Silber

Pretty Yende

Michael Fabiano, 2014 Richard Tucker Award Winner

Maestro Emmanuel Villaume

New York Choral Society



GIUSEPPE VERDI, “Tutto parea sorridere…Sì! de’ Corsari il fulmine” from Il corsaro



VINCENZO BELLINI, “Qui la voce…Vien diletto” from I puritani



GIUSEPPE VERDI, “Infelice!..e tuo credevi” from Ernani




GIACOMO PUCCINI,  “E lucevan le stelle” from Tosca



JULES MASSENET, “Esprits de l’air” from Esclarmonde




WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART, “Là ci darem la mano” from Don Giovanni



UMBERTO GIORDANO, “Nemico della patria” from Andrea Chenier



JULES MASSENET, “Pourquoi me réveiller” from Werther



JULES MASSENET,  “Toi! Vous!…N’est-ce plus ma main” from Manon




“Pace, pace” from La forza del destino



PIETRO MASCAGNI, “Regina Coeli…Inneggiamo” from Cavalleria rusticana




PABLO SARAZABAL, “No puede ser” from La tabernera del puerto



LEONARD BERNSTEIN, “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story



LEONARD BERNSTEIN, Balcony Scene from West Side Story



GAETANO DONIZETTI, Finale of Act II from Lucia di Lammermoor










October 9th, 2014 |

WQXR Presents “Seranata Italiana”


On Tuesday, October 7th, at 7:00PM, Richard Tucker Award Winner Michael Fabiano performed in a special salute to Italian opera and song, in WQXR’s “Seranata Italiana.”

The evening event also featured performances by Richard Tucker Grant winners mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano and bass-baritone Brandon Cedel.

Legendary soprano Renata Scotto made a guest appearance in conversation with WQXR’s Naomi Levin, discussing her collaborations with Richard Tucker and her role as a master teacher imparting the traditions of Italian opera to a new generation of American opera singers.

The event took place at The Greene Space, at 44 Charlton Street, New York, NY (corner of Varick St.), at 7:00PM.

To view footage from this event, click here.

October 2nd, 2014 |


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 |

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