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Tucker Foundation presents centennial gala at Lincoln Center, Nov 17

For the past 38 years, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s annual gala has been one of the most highly anticipated events of the New York City performing arts season, presenting the world’s biggest opera stars on one stage on one night. This year is no exception: in a special tribute to celebrate the centenary of the late Brooklyn-born tenor’s birth, an illustrious all-American group of singers including Stephanie Blythe, Stephen Costello, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, Greer Grimsley, Angela Meade, Eric Owens, Ailyn Pérez, Matthew Polenzani, Patricia Racette, and Susan Graham will join the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New York Choral Society, under the baton of Riccardo Frizza, at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall for a program of favorite arias and ensembles. Many of the singers featured on the program are past recipients of the foundation’s biggest prize, the Richard Tucker Award, which gave them recognition and much needed funds at a crucial point in their careers. Joining this star-studded cast will be the latest addition to the group: 2013 Richard Tucker Award-winner Isabel Leonard, a rising star in the U.S. as well as abroad currently earning raves as Dorabella in the Met’s production of Così fan tutte. A gala dinner on the Grand Promenade follows the 6:30pm concert. The performance will be recorded for later broadcast on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS.

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 young American opera singers. Through awards, grants for study, performance opportunities, and other activities, the Foundation provides professional development for singers at various levels. Each year, the Foundation confers its most prestigious prize, the Richard Tucker Award, on an artist poised at the edge of a major international career. Often referred to as the “Heisman Trophy of Opera,” the award comes with a $30,000 cash prize as well as the ongoing support of the Tucker family and Foundation.

The 2013 award-winner is the “fresh, effervescent, and lovely” (New York Times) Isabel Leonard. A native New Yorker, she continues to gain momentum in the classical music world both in the United States and abroad. Besides her current run as Dorabella in the Met’s Così fan tutte under James Levine, which will be broadcast to cinemas worldwide in the spring as part of the company’s Live in HD series, the 2013-14 season sees Leonard in her highly-anticipated debuts at the San Francisco Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Dallas Opera as Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Last season also saw Leonard in an array of distinguished roles. The “rising star at the Metropolitan Opera” (New York Times) sang Miranda in Adès’s The Tempest, Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, and Rosina in the English version of Rossini’s Barber of Seville. She also made her debut with the Canadian Opera Company as Sesto in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and impressed audiences in recital at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall.

Barry Tucker, President of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and eldest son of the celebrated American tenor for whom it is named, stated: 

“We are thrilled by the lineup for this special centenary celebration of my father’s life and to have a native New Yorker as this year’s Tucker Award-winner. I know Isabel Leonard is going to make us very proud; she is a superb artist.”

The full list of singers featured on the gala program is provided below. Tickets for this year’s event range from $40 to $600 and are on sale to the public through the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s website,, as well as at, by calling CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Avery Fisher Hall box office. Reservations for the gala dinner on the Grand Promenade that follows the concert can be arranged by contacting the Tucker Foundation offices at (212) 757-2218.

In advance of the annual Richard Tucker Gala on November 17, WQXR 105.9 FM, New York’s classical radio station, presents a special event featuring 2013 Richard Tucker Award-winner Isabel Leonard, 2004 Richard Tucker Award-winner Matthew Polenzani, 2010 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient Anthony Roth Costanzo, and the legendary Sherrill Milnes on Friday, October 4 at 7pm at The Greene Space in Lower Manhattan. Hosted by Operavore’s Naomi Lewin, the evening will feature performances as well as conversations about the life and legacy of Richard Tucker. Tickets are $25 and are available at The event will also be streamed live online at

Further information about the 2013 gala and the work of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is available at


Richard Tucker Music Foundation presents:


November 17 at 6:30pm

Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City


2013 Richard Tucker Award winner Isabel Leonard 

Winners of Richard Tucker Music Foundation grants and honored guests:

Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano (1999 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Stephen Costello, tenor (2011 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano (2002 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Renée Fleming, soprano (1990 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Christine Goerke, soprano (2001 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano (1990 Richard Tucker Career Grant winner)

Greer Grimsley, bass-baritone

Angela Meade, soprano (2011 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Eric Owens, bass-baritone (1995 Robert M. Jacobson Study Grant winner)

Ailyn Pérez, soprano (2012 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Matthew Polenzani, tenor (2004 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Patricia Racette, soprano (1998 Richard Tucker Award winner)

Riccardo Frizza, conductor

The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

New York Choral Society

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© 21C Media Group, October 2013



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