Sunday Morning Opera: Richard Tucker


The legendary American tenor, Richard Tucker, would be 104 tomorrow.  Not only was he the greatest tenor this country has ever produced, but he was one of the greatest – ever.  The man was beloved to the point where his greatest legacy is the Richard Tucker Foundation.  Following his death on January 8, 1975, his funeral was held on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera – the only operatic star so honored.  He was so great, even I think he was wonderful!

“…Richard Tucker was unquestionably America’s greatest tenor. As with many of his contemporaries, the Second World War gave him the opportunity to establish himself in this country, and for the next quarter of a century, no one surpassed this native son in terms of voice, commitment, integrity, and devotion to the lyric art. His standing in his community, both civic and devotional, equaled his renown in the world of music, and his standards are the level by which all are now judged.

Deeply religious, Richard Tucker brought the same compelling feeling to all of his efforts – be they his 724 performances with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and on tour; his extensive catalogue of recordings – classical, popular, religious; his never ending work on behalf of Israel, or his knowledge of himself and his place as a model citizen, artist, and ideal for succeeding generations of singers and Americans, both here and abroad…”

Where you had Richard Tucker, there was almost always Robert Merrill. They were like Wyatt and Doc, two peas in a pod, BFFs. You cannot honor Tucker without Merrill.

Richard Tucker was a man of great faith. This brings tears to the eyes.