Press Room

Reminder: opera stars headline Richard Tucker Gala this Sunday (Nov 11)

Many of today’s biggest names in opera – including baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Gerald Finley; mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina; tenors Marcello Giordani and Giuseppe Filianoti; bass Ildar Abdrazakov; and bass-baritone Erwin Schrott – converge on Avery Fisher Hall in New York’s Lincoln Center this Sunday, November 11 for the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s annual gala. They will join Maestro Patrick Summers, members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Choral Society, and the 2012 Richard Tucker Award-winner, soprano Ailyn Pérez, the first Latina singer to be so honored, for a concert of favorite arias and ensembles, including selections by Verdi, Rossini, Donizetti, Massenet, Mascagni, Handel, and Wagner. 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 web site,, as well as at, by calling CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Avery Fisher Hall box office. Audiences across America will be pleased to know that the star-studded tribute to Tucker, the great 20th-century tenor, will be returning to television for the first time since 2007; the concert is being filmed for inclusion in a national broadcast in the U.S. as part of the Emmy Award-winning Live From Lincoln Center series on PBS, airing on Thursday, December 13. The telecast, which will include a feature on the Award winner and backstage access to the artists in addition to selections from the musical performance, is being hosted by singer and actress Audra McDonald, who, before winning her record-tying five Tony Awards, received a degree in classical voice from the Juilliard School.
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, 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. Previous award winners include 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 Latina 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 ‘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 is singing the title roles in Mozart’s Le nozze di 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 plays 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; Canadian baritone Gerald Finley, who is currently singing Count Almaviva opposite Abdrazakov’s Figaro; Italian tenor Marcello Giordani, who this week ends his run as Calàf in the Met’s Turandot; 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 6:30 p.m.
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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