Tucker Up

In the centennial year of its namesake’s birth, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation‘s annual concert will be aired on PBS  tomorrow, Friday, at 9pm (check local listings).

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-e7D2goVyE&w=350&h=300]

Named for the famous American tenor, the Foundation awards a rising American opera singer each year, and the accompanying concert features them and a host of famous singers too, guaranteed to be an especially luminous bunch for Tucker’s 100th birthyear…  This year’s awardee is the mezzo soprano Isabel Leonard.

Tucker La Gioconda publicity shot, 1945

Richard Tucker in La Gioconda at the Met, 1945

Tucker made his Met debut in La Gioconda in 1945, where this excerpt was apparently recorded:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K1tnuxxvTo&w=350&h=300]

The initial impression, based on this New York Times review, was apparently somewhat mixed:

Special interest naturally centered in the company’s new tenor, Mr. Tucker, who had the misfortune to make his initial appearance in a formidable role too heavy for his essentially lyric type of voice. Nevertheless, he made a definitely favorable impression and was enthusiastically received by the large audience.

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