Friday, November 19, 2010

The Fast And The Furious Starring Anna Netrebko And Deborah Voigt (Sans Vin Diesel)

On Sunday, November 14th 2010, the 35th annual Richard Tucker Gala was held at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York. Tucker, a famous Brooklyn-born tenor, passed away in 1975. Shortly thereafter, a foundation in his name was formed which fosters the careers of emerging singers.

A few things about this most recent gala caught the attention of Fresco. First was the pacing of the performance. Without an intermission, and in less than 2 hours, 16 singers performed 18 pieces. Very brisk by RT gala standards, as past performances have been known to go on and on and on.... for hours. No doubt, this was a refreshing change for the annual patrons of this event.

Also refreshing was the material some of the singers chose to perform. Many of them consider this annual gala an opportunity to try something unusual and have fun. Anthony Tommasini, the New York Times music critic, writes in his review "Anna Netrebko (pictured above) performed an aria from Emmerich Kalman's operetta The Gypsy Princess. Her voice soared over the chorus as she sang, shimmied and twirled in circles." Fun indeed. The link to Tommasini's full review is below.

Finally, the mission of the Richard Tucker Foundation is something Fresco admires: to help launch the career of an aspiring international opera star. Last year's winner, James Valenti, won the $30,000 prize. But perhaps more important than the actual prize may be recognition all the performers and candidates receive at this event. It seems to be a great vehicle for promoting this art form we all love. The 2010 gala in particular gets us excited because of this fresh approach to operatic music by the performers.

Which brings us back to us - Fresco. Fresh. Richard Tucker's debut at the Met is one of the more legendary stories from an organization that is long on legendary stories. He was a fresh voice with an exciting presence at that debut. One can't help but feel the RT gala took a step in the right direction this year with this performance, inspired perhaps by the spirit of Mr. Tucker.

Fast and fun. And Fresh - or Fresco.

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