Two things are going on this week. First, it is National Opera Week. Secondly, today is annual Richard Tucker Foundation Gala. The more I hear him, the greater I think he is, to the point where I swear, the man was the greatest tenor this country has ever produced, and arguably the second greatest tenor, ever. What better way to honor Richard Tucker and American opera, than a video playlist of the country’s great voices. I would usually start with Sherrill Milnes, but considering the day, we put Richard Tucker first, followed by his BFF, Robert Merrill. He is my mother’s all-time favorite. She was never able to see him sing, but at a Richard Tucker Gala, she saw him, along with Sherrill Milnes. She told me she cried the entire time.
When we think about opera, quite often we don’t mention the fact that this nation has produced some of the greatest voices the world has ever known. The Metropolitan Opera is recognized as the greatest opera company on the planet. One great tradition this nation has is in producing the greatest of baritones: Leonard Warren, Robert Merrill, Sherrill Milnes, Thomas Hampson. Today, what is so exciting is the fact that, thanks to Milnes, there are several young American baritones just waiting to capture the title from Thomas Hampson. I’m wondering if it’s not going to be Nathan Gunn. FYI: He’s also a certified Barihunk.