2006 Richard Tucker Gala
by Olga and Tony Nespole
The Richard Tucker Music Foundation, which was founded in 1975, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to perpetuating the artistic legacy of the great American tenor through the support and advancement of the careers of talented American opera singers by bringing opera into the community. The Foundation seeks to increase appreciation for opera by offering free performances in the New York Metropolitan area and by supporting music enrichment programs. It awards grants to singers selected through competitions and each year confers the Richard Tucker Award upon one artist who has achieved a high level of artistic accomplishment and who seems destined for a major international career.
Past winners of the Richard Tucker Award have included such names as John Relyea, Christine Goerke, Stephanie Blythe, Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Deborah Voigt and Renée Fleming. The 2006 winner was Lawrence Brownlee who will be appearing as Count Almaviva in the Metropolitan Opera production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia this spring.
We have been fortunate to attend the Richard Tucker Gala in New York at Lincoln Center several times. This past November 12, 2006 performance was especially rewarding, not only because of the singers who performed, but also because of our dinner partners following the performance.
The cast included many stars, such as Joseph Calleja, José Cura, Marcello Giordani, Aprile Millo, James Morris, René Pape, Patricia Racette, Sondra Radvanovsky, Samuel Ramey and Charles Taylor among others. A few of the many arias sung included the Coronation Scene from Boris Godunov (René Pape), "Ah! Lève-toi, soleil" from Roméo et Juliette (Joseph Calleja), "Tutto parea sorridere. Sì! de' Corsari il fulmine" from Il Corsaro (José Cura), "L'altra notte in fondo" from Mefistofele (Patricia Racette), "Credo" from Otello (James Morris) and "Ascolta. S'agita il bosco.ecco il mondo" from Mefistofele. These superb artists were backed up by the hundred voices of the New York Choral Society and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
At dinner, we had the pleasure of dining with Elinor Ross, a former Met singer who has many fond memories of Irene Dalis. She shared interesting anecdotes from her Met career. Having put Ms. Ross and Ms. Dalis in touch with each other once again, we hope that their former friendship can once again flourish.
All in all, a very exciting and enjoyable evening.
(SJOG Newsletter February, 2007 Issue)