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.
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:
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.
This new, Las Vegas-set Met Opera production of Verdi‘s 1851 opera Rigoletto is a far cry from earlier Met productions, including the 1903 season-opener where celebrated Italian tenor Enrico Caruso made his house debut as the Duke of Mantua. It was an important debut, so the Met archives have a whole article devoted to it, with lots of fun anecdotes and primary documents.
Did you know there have been 9 different productions of Rigoletto at the Met? Just one of the fun (if you’re me, at least) things you can learn on The Met’s online archives, which I am learning to love. New productions are very well-documented, with plenty of production and rehearsal photos.
In past installments, these Works & Process events have been live-streamed on their UStream, so I suspect that may happen tonight too? But I’m not seeing any explicit mention of it… Well, tune in here at 7:30 tonight just to be sure!
I’ve repeatedly mentioned how this year has been a big one for operatic anniversaries; bicentennials of Verdi and Wagner and a centennial for Britten (born on St. Cecelia‘s Day, appropriately enough!). Well, some people are gearing up for another centennial five years in advance…
Leonard Bernstein was born in 1918, and the Leonard Bernstein Office in New York is now fielding submissions for a logo for his centennial. Information on competition guidelines are here, and the last day to submit is January 31st, 2013. Any creative followers out there get cracking! And definitely share your submissions with us!
(PS: If you came through Facebook, the photo of Bernstein appearing in that status update is by Jack Mitchell; credit where it’s due!)