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Richard Tucker (1913 - 1975)


One of America’s favourite tenors Richard Tucker (1913-1975), born Reuben Ticker, was only six when he began singing in a New York synagogue choir. After studying with a reputable tenor Paul Althouse, then Martino, Borghetti and Wilhousky, his first appearance in concert in New York took place in 1943. At first he joined a touring troupe, the Salmaggi Opera Company, making his début as Alfredo. His Metropolitan début followed in 1945 as Enzo in La Gioconda. In the course of more than a quarter of a century based there he sang 600-odd performances of more than thirty rôles, including among many Radames, Alvaro, Manrico, Cavaradossi and Canio. Elsewhere in the United States he appeared with companies in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He made occasional visits to Western Europe. In 1947 he sang Enzo with Callas’s Gioconda at the Verona Arena. Subsequently he made occasional appearances at La Scala, Milan, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper and Comunale, Florence, and sang concerts in Italy, Israel and South America. Towards the end of his career, in 1973, he added Eléazar in Halévy’s La Juive to his repertory. His most celebrated recording is his first, as Radames in a radio performance of Aida (1949), but less on his account than Toscanini’s, who conducts. He was also to have sung Manrico in the EMI/Angel Trovatore opposite Callas’s Leonora but declined because of Karajan’s Nazi associations.

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