The Richard Tucker Award

Lisette Oropesa Soprano


Lisette Oropesa is, as Spain’s Notodo put it, “one of those exceptional things … like Halley’s Comet.” Her long association with the Richard Tucker Music Foundation dates back to 2007, when she was awarded a Sara Tucker Study Grant, before winning a Richard Tucker Career Grant two years later. Since then, Oropesa has made debuts on many of the world’s great opera stages, and is now taking on principal roles in major international productions. This season she has already starred in both L’elisir damore and a new treatment of Les Huguenots at the Paris Opera, sung Gilda in a new staging of Rigoletto at the Rome Opera, and headlined Rodelinda in her company debut at Liceu Barcelona. After making a second house debut at Belgium’s La Monnaie in Robert le diable, she now looks forward to rounding out the season with a third, in a new treatment of Verdi’s I masnadieri at La Scala in Milan. Next season she returns to New York’s Metropolitan Opera for back-to-back title-role appearances in Manon and La traviata.

Oropesa has taken part in more than 100 performances at the Met to date, in roles including Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Gilda in Michael Mayer’s hit take on Rigoletto, besides gracing eight of the company’s Live in HD broadcasts. She is also a familiar face at the San Francisco Opera, L.A. Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Washington National Opera in the U.S., and has appeared at companies including Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera, Paris Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, and Netherlands Opera in Europe. In addition to singing the title roles of La traviata, Orphée et Eurydice, La fille du régiment, and Lucia di Lammermoor, she regularly appears as Gilda in Rigoletto, Norina in Don Pasquale, and Adina in L’elisir damore. Her concert highlights include collaborations with the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras and the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Baltimore Symphonies in the U.S., and with the Orchestre de Paris, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Strasbourg Philharmonic in Europe. Besides joining James Levine and Daniel Barenboim for a lieder recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, she has been presented in recital by New York’s Park Avenue Armory and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

A first-generation Cuban American, Lisette Oropesa grew up and currently resides in Baton Rouge, where she graduated from the LSU School of Music at Louisiana State University. She is an alumna of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Program, and her numerous honors include winning the Grand Finals of the 2005 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Click here for more information, and here for high-resolution photos. Click here to see Oropesa talk about her upcoming engagements.

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.

Richard Tucker Award Winners 1978-2018

  • 2018 Christian Van Horn
  • 2017 Nadine Sierra
  • 2016 Tamara Wilson
  • 2015 Jamie Barton
  • 2014 Michael Fabiano
  • 2013 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