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2014 Richard Tucker Award goes to tenor Michael Fabiano


The Richard Tucker Music Foundation is delighted to announce that Michael Fabiano – “the tenor that we have all been waiting for” (San Francisco Classical Voice) – is the winner of the 2014 Richard Tucker Award. This prestigious honor carries the foundation’s most generous cash prize; now standing at $50,000, it was increased from $30,000 last year in honor of the late Brooklyn-born tenor’s centennial. Often referred to as the “Heisman Trophy of Opera,” the Tucker Award is conferred annually by a panel of opera industry professionals on an American singer at the threshold of a major international career; previous winners include such luminaries as Renée Fleming, Lawrence Brownlee, Stephanie Blythe, David Daniels, and Joyce DiDonato.
“I am profoundly honored to have been named the recipient of the 2014 Richard Tucker Award,” said Fabiano when he was reached on the phone from Amsterdam, where he is currently preparing to sing the title role in a new production of Gounod’s Faust with the Dutch National Opera. “As an American tenor, I am in awe of all that Richard Tucker accomplished as one of the greatest tenors who ever lived and as an ambassador for opera throughout the world. It is a privilege to be a part of the legacy that he created, and I am deeply grateful to Barry Tucker and the Richard Tucker Foundation for the faith they have placed in me.”
“I was bowled over when I saw Michael Fabiano last year in I Lombardi with the Opera Orchestra of New York at Avery Fisher Hall,” remarked Barry Tucker, President of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and son of the Brooklyn-born tenor. “Not only is he an exceptional singer, but he has the extraordinary ability to excite audiences and bring them to the edge of their seats. We believe he has a bright future ahead of him, and we are thrilled to have him as our 2014 Richard Tucker Award winner.”
The foundation has also announced the winners of the 2014 Richard Tucker Career Grants and Sara Tucker Study Grants, who were selected by audition this week at New York’s 92nd Street Y, thanks to the generous support of the Agnes Varis Trust. A complete list of recipients is provided below.
At only 29 years of age, tenor Michael Fabiano has already made his debuts with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Teatro Real, Opéra National de Paris, Teatro alla Scala, Dresden Semperoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, English National Opera, and the Teatro San Carlo. He has also appeared in concert with orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, and Vienna Symphony. In the coming months, Fabiano sings the title role in a new production of Gounod’s Faust with the Dutch National Opera and makes his Glyndebourne debut as Alfredo in a new production of Verdi’s La traviata. Over the 2014-15 season, he makes his debut at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu as Alfredo in La traviata, sings Faust with the Australian Opera, and performs Rodolfo in La bohème in his return to the San Francisco Opera. Fabiano’s recent highlights have included his return to the Opéra National de Paris as Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, his debut with the Canadian Opera Company in La bohème, Verdi’s Requiem with the San Francisco Opera, and performances as Alfred in a new production of Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera. Of his 2013 performance as Oronte in Verdi’s I Lombardi alla prima crociata with the Opera Orchestra of New York, the New York Times wrote: “What everyone who attended [the] concert…seemed to be thinking…might have been summarized in a Twitter post: ‘Michael Fabiano OMG’. The sentiment was evident whenever that tenor opened his mouth, to judge by the prolonged ovations and shouts that followed.” A native of Montclair, New Jersey, Fabiano graduated from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His previous honors include the 2014 Beverly Sills Award, a 2007 Sarah Tucker Study Grant, and a Grand Prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2007.
In addition to Fabiano’s win, the foundation is pleased to announce that eight other young American artists have been awarded study and career grants. 2014 Richard Tucker Career Grants of $10,000 go to bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green, tenor Anthony Kalil and soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen, all of whom are previous recipients of the Sara Tucker Study Grants. 2014 Sara Tucker Study Grants of $5,000 apiece go to five young singers displaying great promise at the start of their professional careers: tenor Benjamin Bliss, baritone Anthony Clark Evans, bass Patrick Guetti, countertenor John Holiday, and soprano Amanda Woodbury. The winners of the study and career grants were chosen by a panel of opera professionals following auditions held on April 8 & 9 at New York’s 92nd Street Y.
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 by bringing opera into the community. Through awards, grants for study, performance opportunities, and other activities, the foundation provides professional development for singers at various stages of their careers. It also offers free performances in the New York metropolitan area and supports music education enrichment programs. The foundation will present its annual gala – an always starry lineup of today’s leading opera singers – on Sunday, October 12 at Avery Fisher Hall. Further information about foundation’s work is available at, and high-resolution photos can be downloaded here.
2014 Richard Tucker Career Grant Winners
Richard Tucker Career Grants are awards of $10,000 given to singers who have a fair amount of performance experience in professional companies and who are usually younger than 36 years old.
Bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green, a native of Suffolk, Virginia, is in his final year of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. Praised by Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times for his “robust voice,” Speedo Green returned to the Met stage this season singing the Bonze in Madama Butterfly and the Jailer in Tosca. 2013-14 also saw his debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as the Second Soldier in Salome under the baton of Andris Nelsons. Other upcoming appearances include Son Beau-Père in a new production of Milhaud’s Le pauvre matelot and Zuniga in Carmen with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap Opera.
Praised by the New York Times as an “excellent tenor” with a voice that has “ping and richness,” American tenor Anthony Kalil is currently a member of the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera. In the 2013-14 season, Kalil made his Met debut as the Young Man in Die Frau ohne Schatten conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, and the First Armed Man in The Magic Flute. He also sang the title role in Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini in the Met and Juilliard scenes program conducted by James Levine. In future seasons, Kalil will be seen at the Met, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and Santa Fe Opera.
Soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen was the winner of both the 2010 Met National Council Auditions and the 2011 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition. Recent engagements include Gutrune in Götterdämmerung and the Countess at the Royal Opera House under Antonio Pappano, and Donna Anna with Houston Grand Opera. This season she sings the title role of The Merry Widow, Mimi, Fiordiligi, and Diemut (in Strauss’s Feuersnot) with the Semperoper Dresden. Future engagements include roles with the Royal Opera House, San Francisco Opera, Vienna State Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. On the concert platform she sings Mahler’s Second Symphony with Myung-Whun Chung and the Dresden Statskapelle, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Antonio Pappano and the Santa Cecilia Orchestra.
2014 Sara Tucker Study Grant Winners
Sara Tucker Grants are awards of $5,000 given to singers – generally younger than 30 years old – who are making the transition from student to professional singer.
Tenor Benjamin Bliss, 28, a first year member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Program, will be heard this year in a series of scenes conducted by James Levine; he will understudy Ferrando in Così fan tutte with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and will sing Lensky in Eugene Onegin at the Aspen Festival. Next season at the Met he will make his debut as Vogelgesang in Die Meistersinger and understudy Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor.  A native of Prairie Village, Kansas, he earned a degree in film at Chapman University before joining Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program. 
Baritone Anthony Clark Evans, 29, was a winner of the Met’s 2012 National Council Auditions and is in his first year at the Ryan Center of Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he has recently sung roles in Otello, Madama Butterfly and Rusalka and has appeared at the Ravinia Festival in Bernstein’s Songfest. Next season in Chicago Evans will sing the Jailer in Tosca and cover Leporello in Don Giovanni, Wolfram in Tannhäuser and the Count in Capriccio. A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, Evans has won awards from the Mario Lanza and Giulio Gari Foundations and top awards in the Albanese and Gerda Lissner competitions. 
In repertoire ranging from Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto to Jonathan Dove’s Flight, the countertenor John Holiday has an expressive and richly beautiful voice “that threatens to equal the named artists in his range” (Indiana’s Herald Times) and that has put him increasingly in demand. This season, Holiday, 29, made his debut with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah. He was also seen in the title role of Radamisto at the Juilliard School, with the Juilliard Orchestra in Giya Kancheli’s And Farewell Goes Out Sighingunder Anne Manson, and in Scarlatti’s La Sposa dei Cantici with Ars Lyrica in Houston. Next season, Holiday gives his Los Angeles Opera debut in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas as the Sorceress, and he returns to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in a program of Baroque arias under Jonathan Cohen.
Bass Patrick Guetti, 26, is a recent winner of the Met’s National Council Auditions.  A student at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Guetti has been heard in a number of roles there including Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Arkel in Pelléas, the title role in Don Quichotte, and Basillio in Barbiere. A graduate of Catholic University and a native of New Jersey, Guetti will return this summer as a second year apprentice to Santa Fe Opera and has debuts coming up at Dallas Opera, San Antonio Opera, and the Glyndebourne Festival.
Soprano Amanda Woodbury, 25, is a member of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program. A 2014 winner of the Met’s National Council Auditions, she made her Los Angeles Opera debut this season as Micaëla in Carmen, with subsequent appearances as Papagena in The Magic Flute. Upcoming performances include her May Festival debut in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni this summer with the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program. In 2013, she performed Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi at the Aspen Music Festival, and she was also a soloist in the Britten Art Song Prelude at the Colburn School. She completed her master’s degree in vocal performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where her roles included Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites. She also performed the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with the CCM Summer Program. In 2010, she was a studio artist with Opera North.
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© 21C Media Group, April 2014




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