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The World's Greatest Tenors - Richard Tucker
Who was Sara Perelmuth?
The Richard Tucker Music Foundation
The World’s Greatest Tenors – Richard Tucker
When I moved to Newburgh, NY, in 1962, fresh out of college, one of the first things I did was to buy a portable stereo record player. I joined a record club and began to collect 78 stereo LPs. My chief interest was in classical recordings.
Listening to Mario Lanza sing operatic arias had awakened my interest in tenors. Although I never had the patience to collect and listen to entire operas, I did enjoy opera highlights particularly the arias.
At that time, the main man at the Met was Richard Tucker. Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavoratti did not make their debuts until 1968. Sometime in the 1960s, Richard Tucker and Leontyne Price made an album with highlights from Madam Butterfly, I purchased the album through my record club. I immediately fell in love with both of their voices. Even today, their recording of the love duet from Act I is one of my all time favorite recordings, so I have provided a link to it at the end of this hub.
Richard Tucker was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 28, 1913, the son of Romanian Jews. He showed a talent for singing in the first grade and began training to be a cantor. On February 11, 1936, he married Sara Perelmuth whose parents were also Romanian Jews. Sara’s older brother, Yacob, was a national radio star and was studying to be an opera singer. He later changed his name to Jan Peerce and made his debut at the Met in 1941. I have already published a hub about Jan Peerce.
On January 25, 1945, Richard Tucker also made his debut at the Met in La Giaconda, He continued to perform there for more than 30-years for a combined total of 734 performances both in New York and on the road. During those years, numerous tenors came and went, but Richard Tucker remained.
Before and after each opera season, Tucker appeared on concert stages throughout America, helping to introduce many Americans to opera for the first time. Throughout his career, he also officiated as a cantor during Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and other sacred Jewish events. He had a long running contract with Columbia Records and later with RCA Victor as well.
On January 28, 1975, Richard Tucker was traveling with Robert Merrill in a nationwide concert tour, when he died of a heart attack shortly before a performance in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His funeral was held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera and the City of New York designated the park adjacent to Lincoln Center as Richard Tucker Square.
The songs that he performs in the videos that follows are:
E lucevan le stelle (from Tosca)
Nessun Dorma (from Turnadot) and
Sunrise , sunset (from Fiddler on the Roof)
Richard Tucker and Lyontene Price
I can think of no better way to end this hub than to play the love duet from Act 1 of Madam Butterfly sung by Richard Tucker and Leontyne Price. So sit back and listen while a black woman and a Jew sing Italian opera set in Japan.
THE WORLD'S GREATEST TENORS
To visit my complete list of the world’s best tenors along with limited biographical information and links to their individual Hubs, go to:
PRAISE OF RICHARD TUCKER BY HIS PEERS
Richard Tucker Tributes from his Friends and Colleauges
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