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Richard Tucker Gala at Carnegie Hall


 Richard Tucker Gala at Carnegie Hall

                  By Barry Bassis

Opera Stars Come Out for this prestigious annual concert

Opera lovers go out of their way to attend the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala. Each year, the Carnegie Hall concert, hosted by the late singer’s son, Barry Tucker, is an annual event that showcases past and current award winners as well as prominent opera singers from around the world.

The great American tenor Richard Tucker (1913-1975) was a native New Yorker, who remained a star at the Metropolitan Opera until his untimely death from a heart attack. The non-profit foundation was created in his honor in 1975 to give awards and grants to promising opera singers, a number of whom have become stars.

The concert began with James Gaffigan conducting the orchestra in the rousing overture to “I Vespri Siciliani.”

This year’s winner of the Tucker Foundation award, soprano Lisette Oropesa sang “Come dolce all’alma mia” from Rossini’s “Tancredi.” She showed off her bel canto style and ability to knock out high notes. She returned later with another technically demanding bel canto aria: “Qui la Voce…Vien diletto” from Bellini’s “I Puritani.” On this one, Elvira’s mad scene, Oropesa also displayed her dramatic flair.

Baritone Lucas Meachem sang the comic “Largo al factotum” with panache. He surprised the audience by walking down the aisle singing.

Last year’s Richard Tucker award winner bass-baritone Christian Van Horn conveyed pure evil as Scarpia in the “Te Deum” from “Tosca.” The New York Choral Society added luster to the piece.

Tenor Michael Fabiano displayed a range of colors on the haunting “Kuda, kuda” aka “Lensky’s aria” from “Eugene Onegin.”

Baritone Artur Rucinski showed off an opulent tone on “Il Balen” from “Il Trovatore” and impressed again in a duet with soprano Angel Blue. She also sang a lovely rendition of “Depuis le Jour” from “Louise.”

Tenor Stephen Costello first sang a smooth Flower Song from “Carmen” and later the Love Duet from “Madama Butterfly” with soprano Ermonela Jaho. The soprano also won over the audience with “Io son l'umile ancella” from “Adriana Lecouvreur.”

Soprano Ailyn Pérez was a standout at the concert. First, she sang the lilting “Chi il sogno di Doretta” from “La Rondine” and later the final duet from ‘Thaïs” with Lucas Meachem,

Jamie Barton demonstrated that she is one of the world’s leading mezzo-sopranos with two arias from Verdi’s “Don Carlo:” “Nel Giardin del bello” and “O Don Fatale.”

If you are an opera fan, don’t miss next year’s Richard Tucker Gala.