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The Richard Tucker Gala
by Olga Nespole

The first week in November, 2007, was particularly exciting for my husband and me. Having again received an invitation to The Richard Tucker Gala to be held in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, we headed for New York City. To date, the Richard Tucker Foundation has awarded over $2,000,000 to aspiring young singers, and the Gala is their primary fund-raising affair.

The program began with a stirring rendition of Wagner’s “Entrance of the Guests” from Tannhäuser, performed by the New York Choral Society and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, conducted by Asher Fisch. This set the tone for the following twelve singers and their choice of songs. Among the many highlights were René Fleming and Joyce DiDonato singing “Ah, guarda sorella” from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Maria Guleghina’s ”Pace, pace, mio Dio” from Verdi’s La Forza del Destino and Brandon Jovanovich’s “Morgenlich leuchtend” from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. He was the 2007 Richard Tucker award winner and received a grant of $30,000. Bryn Terfel and the others in the cast were also superb.

Two days prior to this performance, we attended a performance of Verdi’s Aida. This production, which included six white horses, truly took the audience to ancient Egypt. The old traditional sets were amazing, as was the singing of Olga Borodina as Amneris, Franco Farina as Radames and Angela Brown as Aida. Mark Delevan, a former Merolini, was also in the cast as Amonasro. He will be performing this season with the San Francisco Opera in Wagner’s Das Rheingold. This was really a memorable operatic experience for us.

Pair those two evenings with a Broadway show, wonderful meals and great weather, not to mention the shopping, and you know why it is always exciting to take a bite out of the Big Apple.

(SJOG Newsletter November, 2007 Issue)

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