Lisette Oropesa has been named as the winner of the 2019 Richard Tucker Award. The soprano already headlines major productions worldwide, and after her recent house debuts in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Real Madrid and Royal Opera House, The Guardian declared: “The Cuban American soprano is sensationally good. She makes the stratospheric vocal fireworks … sound easy; indeed, her every note is part of a convincing portrayal of a complex character.” Widely referred to as 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 significant international career. Past winners include such luminaries as Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, Matthew Polenzani, and Deborah Voigt. Oropesa will be inducted into this who’s who of American opera at the foundation’s annual gala, a perennial highlight of the opera season, on Sunday, October 27, at Carnegie Hall.
Barry Tucker, who is the president of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and the son of the Brooklyn-born tenor for whom it is named, said:
“We are delighted that Lisette Oropesa has been named the 2019 Richard Tucker Award winner. She is an incredible soprano whom we have watched develop over the years, and we’re very proud of the artist that she is today. We know that she will go on to do great things in her career and make the Richard Tucker Music Foundation proud.”
Reached by phone in Brussels, where she is currently starring as Isabelle in Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable at La Monnaie, Oropesa responded:
“Thank you so very much! I am extremely appreciative of the tremendous honor from the Tucker Foundation. I can’t wait to join my friends and colleagues at the annual Tucker Foundation gala in New York this year. It is a very special event that I feel privileged to be a part of.”
In addition to Lisette Oropesa’s win, the foundation has conferred study and career grants on ten more young American artists. Three 2019 Richard Tucker Career Grants of $10,000 each, awarded to young singers who have already performed with professional companies, go to sopranos Gabriella Reyes and Laura Wilde and baritone Will Liverman. 2019 Sara Tucker Study Grants of $5,000 apiece go to six young singers displaying great promise at the start of their professional careers, namely sopranos Mathilda Edge, Jessica Faselt, and Alexandria Shiner; mezzo-soprano Kayleigh Decker; and tenors Miles Mykkanen and Richard Trey Smagur. The winners of the study and career grants were chosen by the panel after auditions held last week at New York’s 92nd Street Y, thanks to generous support from the Agnes Varis Trust. Biographies and high-resolution photos of the 2019 Study and Career Grant recipients are available for download here.