‘Heisman Trophy of opera’ goes to Isabel Leonard
NEW YORK — This year’s Richard Tucker award, often called the “Heisman Trophy of opera,” goes to mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard.
The 2013 prize marks the centennial of the birth of the great tenor who started his career as a cantor in Manhattan, Bronx and Brooklyn synagogues — named Ruvn Ticker, aka Richard Tucker.
Tucker went on to build a stellar international career, as have past recipients of the award including soprano Renee Fleming, mezzo Joyce DiDonato and tenor Lawrence Brownlee.
Also announced recently were recipients of career and study grants sponsored by the foundation, which perpetuates the Brooklyn-born tenor’s legacy by nurturing singers and bringing opera into the community through free performances and education programs.
Each year the nonprofit Richard Tucker Music Foundation awards the prize plus $30,000 to an American singer.
Leonard, 31, has become a favorite with audiences since her 2007 debut in Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliette.” The New York native will be honored at the foundation’s annual gala concert on Nov. 17 at New York’s Lincoln Center.