Press Room

2012 Tucker Gala presents stars of opera at AFH on Nov 11

The Richard Tucker Music Foundation holds its 37th annual gala, one of the most highly anticipated events of the opera season, on Sunday, November 11 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center. Soprano Ailyn Pérez, winner of the 2012 Richard Tucker Award and the first Latina singer to be so honored, joins a dazzling array of special guests – including baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Gerald Finley; mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina; tenor Marcello Giordani; bass Ildar Abdrazakov; bass-baritone Erwin Schrott; and many more – in a program of favorite arias and ensembles, including selections by Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Massenet, Mascagni, Handel, and Wagner. Maestro Patrick Summers, Artistic and Music Director of Houston Grand Opera, leads the lineup of luminaries, supported by members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New York Choral Society. As the New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini reported in his review of last year’s gala, the concert brought together “a starry roster singing arias fiery and hilarious.” Tickets for this year’s event, which is being made possible in part by the generous support of Cadillac, range from $40 to $500 and are on sale to the public on the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s recently redeveloped web site,, as well as at, by calling CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Avery Fisher Hall box office. Seats at the gala dinner on the Grand Promenade that follows the concert can be arranged by contacting the foundation’s offices at (212) 757-2218. Those unable to attend the star-studded performance will be happy to learn that it is returning to television for the first time since 2007; the concert will be filmed for delayed national broadcast in the U.S. as part of PBS’s Emmy Award-winning “Live From Lincoln Center” series on Thursday, December 13. Hosted by five-time Tony Award-winning singer and actress Audra McDonald, the telecast will feature mini-documentaries in addition to the musical performance.
Founded in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to perpetuating the artistic legacy of the great Brooklyn-born tenor by nurturing the careers of talented American opera singers and bringing opera into the community. Through awards, grants for study, performance opportunities, and other activities, the Foundation provides professional development for singers at each stage of their careers. The Foundation also offers free performances in the New York Metropolitan area and supports music education enrichment programs.
The Foundation’s most substantial prize is the annual Richard Tucker Award: $30,000 given to an artist judged to be on the threshold of a major international career, with previous award winners including Renée Fleming, David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee, and Angela Meade. The winner of the 2012 award is soprano Ailyn Pérez, who continues to gain momentum as one of America’s fastest-rising talents as she heads into a season packed with many of opera’s best-loved heroines: Puccini’s Mimì, Mozart’s Countess, Verdi’s Violetta, and Donizetti’s Adina; Opera News writes: “The phrase ‘an embarrassment of riches’ might have been invented to describe the combination of talents that belong to Ailyn Pérez.” Born in Chicago to first-generation Mexican immigrants, Pérez is the first Hispanic singer to receive the Tucker Award in its 34-year history. What is more, her husband, tenor Stephen Costello, won in 2009, making the couple dubbed “America’s fastest-rising husband-and-wife opera stars” (Associated Press) the first to have not one, but two Richard Tucker Awards on the mantelpiece.
Barry Tucker, President of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and son of the great American tenor for whom it is named, stated:
“We are thrilled to be back on television this year and to be able to share our wonderful concert with viewers throughout America thanks to PBS’s ‘Live From Lincoln Center.’ We’ve got a great lineup of singers and are delighted to introduce 2012 Richard Tucker Award-winner Ailyn Pérez, a wonderful young soprano who sings with incredible beauty and heart and is sure to light up the show.”
The complete list of singers featured on the 37th annual gala program includes Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov, who sings the title roles in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni this season at the Metropolitan Opera; mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, a 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient; Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina, who sings Amneris in the Met’s upcoming revival of Aida; tenor Stephen Costello, the 2009 Richard Tucker Award-winner and husband of Pérez; Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught, in her American debut; Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti, who appears in both La clemenza di Tito and La rondine at the Met this season; Canadian baritone Gerald Finley, who sings Count Almaviva opposite Abdrazakov’s Figaro later this month; Italian tenor Marcello Giordani, who sings Calàf in the Met’s Turandot this fall; Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who stars in the Met’s new production of Un ballo in maschera and later in its revival of Don Carlo; baritone Quinn Kelsey, a 2006 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient and 2004 Sara Tucker Study Grant winner; Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska, who sings the title role opposite Borodina in Aida; and Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott, who at the Met this season sings Leporello to Abdrazakov’s Don Giovanni and Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore opposite his real-life partner, Anna Netrebko.
Further information about the 2012 gala and the work of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is available at
Richard Tucker Music Foundation presents:
November 11 at 6:30pm
Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City
2012 Richard Tucker Award winner Ailyn Pérez, soprano
Winners of Richard Tucker Music Foundation grants and special guests
Ildar Abdrazakov, bass
Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano
Olga Borodina, mezzo-soprano
Stephen Costello, tenor
Tara Erraught, mezzo-soprano
Giuseppe Filianoti, tenor
Gerald Finley, baritone
Marcello Giordani, tenor
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone
Quinn Kelsey, baritone
Liudmyla Monastyrska, soprano
Erwin Schrott, bass-baritone
Patrick Summers, conductor
Members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
New York Choral Society

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