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.