Mayor Michael Bloomberg Proclaims August 28, 2012 'Richard Tucker Day' in NYC
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has declared Tuesday, August 28, 2012 "Richard Tucker Day" in New York City, marking what would have been the legendary Brooklyn-born tenor's 99th birthday. To observe this great honor-and to kick off a series of centenary events-the Richard Tucker Music Foundation will lead celebrations throughout the city and online in partnership with a number of renowned New York institutions, including the New York Yankees, the Stage Deli, WQXR and Operavore, the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, and the Museum at Eldridge Street.
The official proclamation states:
"The life of the Metropolitan Opera's legendary Richard Tucker is a true New York story; it stands as a testament to the promise of opportunity for all in the city that was his home." (Read Mayor Bloomberg's entire proclamation below.) Festivities planned for "Richard Tucker Day" in New York City include the following:
Matthew Polenzani, 2004 Richard Tucker Award winner and now a leading tenor at the Metropolitan Opera, will kick off the New York Yankees' home game against the Toronto Blue Jays by singing the national anthem. The game begins at 7:05pm at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
The Stage Deli, a Manhattan landmark in Manhattan for more than 70 years, will offer an off-menu special sandwich throughout the day, "The Richard Tucker Reuben", in a nod to the American tenor's birth name (he was born Rubin Ticker in 1913). The sandwich, a variation on the traditional Reuben, includes both pastrami and corned beef, which were two of Richard Tucker's favorite deli meats. The Stage Deli is located at 834 Seventh Avenue between W. 53rd and W. 54th Streets in Manhattan.
WQXR 105.9 FM, New York's classical music radio station, and Operavore, its online opera stream (www.wqxr.org/operavore), will present Richard Tucker on-air and online throughout the day, playing recordings by Richard Tucker, excerpts from past Richard Tucker Foundation events, and archival episodes of The Vocal Scene.
The Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall will lead online celebrations by posting Richard Tucker-related content on their respective social media channels. Richard Tucker enjoyed close ties with each of these great New York cultural institutions during his lifetime.
At 5pm in Richard Tucker Park (Broadway between W. 65th and W. 66th Streets), Barry Tucker, President of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and son of the late American tenor, will be joined by superstar soprano and 1990 Richard Tucker Award winner Renée Fleming, by His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, who is a member of the Tucker Foundation Board, and by other special guests to read Mayor Bloomberg's official proclamation. In addition, recordings by Richard Tucker will be played throughout the afternoon in the park as well as in the nearby David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets).
"Richard Tucker Day" will conclude with a 7:30pm concert commemorating the illustrious tenor as both cantor and opera star at the Lower East Side's historic Eldridge Street Synagogue. Tenor Paul Appleby, a 2011 Richard Tucker Career Grant winner, and bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green, a 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant winner, along with cantors Joseph Malovany and Gideon Zelermyer and a special guest, will join pianist Brian Zeger in an hour-long musical tribute to the great tenor's legacy. Located at 12 Eldridge St., the Eldridge Street Synagogue was constructed in 1887 for Russian and Polish Jews. It is unknown if Richard Tucker sang there, but it is evocative of the spaces in which the tenor began his career as a cantor. The concert is free and open to the public. Visit www.eldridgestreet.org for directions.
Richard Tucker centennial celebrations continue this fall; their centerpiece is the annual Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala at Avery Fisher Hall on Sunday, November 11 at 6:30pm. The event will feature 2012 Richard Tucker Award winner Ailyn Pérez, members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra conducted by Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi, and numerous stars of the operatic stage, including Ildar Abdrazakov, Olga Borodina, Stephen Costello, Marcello Giordani, Susan Graham, Gerald Finley, and Erwin Schrott, among others. Tickets will be available from August 28 by calling (212) 757-2218 and online at www.richardtucker.org.
Founded in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to perpetuating the artistic legacy of the great Brooklyn-born tenor by nurturing the careers of talented American opera singers and by taking opera into the community. Through awards, grants for study, performance opportunities, and other activities, the foundation provides professional development for singers at various stages of their careers. It also offers free performances in the New York metropolitan area and supports music education enrichment programs. Further information about the foundation's work is available at www.richardtucker.org.
The full text of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proclamation:
Whereas: The life of the Metropolitan Opera's legendary Richard Tucker is a true New York story; it stands as a testament to the promise of opportunity for all in the city that was his home. In that spirit, we're pleased to honor his memory and join in celebrating the life and legacy of Richard Tucker.
Whereas: Born Rubin Ticker in Brooklyn to Romanian immigrants, Richard Tucker began his vocal career as a cantor at the Brooklyn Jewish Center, and eventually earned the attention of the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. After a successful audition, he became the Opera's lead tenor, and went on to star in 724 performances that also featured many of the greatest opera singers of his time. Millions of fans worldwide also thrilled to his appearances in concert halls and on radio and television, and continue to enjoy recordings of his beautiful and expressive voice. Since his untimely death in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation has built upon his artistic legacy by supporting the careers of emerging artists in the world of opera, and today's event, in recognition of what would have been the great tenor's 99th birthday, is an opportunity for all New Yorkers to come together in celebration of excellence in opera and the performing arts.
Whereas: Richard Tucker's story is emblematic of the values that we, as a City, hold dear, and we're committed to preserving our well-deserved reputation as a place that embraces talent, hard work, and dedication. We share the Richard Tucker Music Foundation's commitment to excellence in the arts, and are glad to join in celebrating the life and legacy of a truly inspirational New Yorker.
Now therefore, I, Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York, in recognition of this important event, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 in the City of New York as: "Richard Tucker Day"