Richard Tucker

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Richard Tucker (1966)

Richard Tucker (actually Ruvn Ticker ; born August 28, 1913 in Brooklyn , New York City , † January 8, 1975 in Kalamazoo ) was an American tenor.


Tucker grew up as the son of a Jewish family in Brooklyn who had emigrated from Sucharan in Bessarabia to New York in 1911 . His musical talent was discovered early; as a boy he sang in the synagogue . Later he was first cantor at the Brooklyn Jewish Center, before he began to study singing in 1940, at the age of 27, encouraged by visits to the Metropolitan Opera , to become an opera singer. His ambition was also spurred on by the early career of his brother-in-law, Jan Peerce .

Above all, his teacher, the hero tenor Paul Althouse, taught him not to overstrain his voice. This was the basic requirement for his - despite its late start - very long career.

After several unsuccessful participation in auditions of the MET, the general manager of the house, Edward Johnson, heard him in the synagogue and offered him a contract. On January 25, 1945, the singer, who now called himself Richard Tucker, made his debut as Enzo in La Gioconda at the opera house, of which he was a member until his death, and where he sang 30 roles in 715 performances.

In 1949 Arturo Toscanini chose the little-known tenor for the role of Radame in his famous recording of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida . When Sir Rudolf Bing took over the management of the Met in 1950 , Tucker was the first tenor whose contract he extended - ahead of Jussi Björling , Lauritz Melchior and Giuseppe Di Stefano .

Nevertheless, Tucker remained cautious in choosing his roles, initially singing easier roles such as Alfredo in La traviata . He sang his most famous roles, Alvaro in La forza del destino , for the first time in 1952 - it became something of his trademark, especially with the baritone Robert Merrill . In 1954 he played this role alongside Maria Callas in the first complete recording of the opera under Tullio Serafin .

New York and the Met remained his solid artistic base throughout his career, from which he made only a few guest tours, including to London ( Royal Opera House Covent Garden ) and Vienna ( Vienna State Opera ). He made his acclaimed debut at La Scala in Milan in 1969.

Throughout his career he continued to perform in the synagogue on major holidays such as Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur . His wife Sarah Perelmuth accompanied him to every performance.

Richard Tucker died of a heart attack in 1975 while preparing for a concert he was about to give with Robert Merrill in Kalamazoo, Michigan .

He is the only person whose funeral has ever taken place on the Met stage. Richard Tucker Square opposite Lincoln Center , which is also home to the Metropolitan Opera, is named after him.

Audio samples


“If the author were to be asked the unbearable and inevitable question of who was the" greatest "Italian tenor after the war, the decision would not be for del Monaco, not for di Stefano, not for Corelli, not for Pavarotti, not for Domingo, but for the American who grew up in the lower East Side of New York and started out as a cantor ... "( Jürgen Kesting )

"Tucker would have stood out from any epoch because of its constant brilliance." (Sir Rudolf Bing)

"I could never quite believe how fantastic he received his vocal powers, how they even seemed to grow." ( Leontyne Price )


Web links

Commons : Richard Tucker  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ The Museum of Family History