Hi all, On Tuesday, August 28, we will celebrate the birthday of my all-time favorite tenor of those whom I saw live..Richard Tucker, born in 1913, 99 years ago. Yes, I loved the excitement of Corelli and del Monaco, but like caruso, Tucker could excell in both lyric and dramatic roles, and he was one of the most consistent performers in my experience. Quoting Regina Resnik in an Opera News article, "He left his blood all over the stage!" When Tucker "hooked' into his passaggio, the effect was absolutely amazing;he had a ringing top that echoed throughout the house, and once Carreras was heard to have remarked, regarding the B flat in Ballo before the last scene,that "the note remained on stage even when he left it." We know of the negative criticism of Tucker, as he could chop a phrase, let out a Cantorial sob (Gigli sobbed also), and sometimes he might be considered 'over the top"( something we WISH FOR today), but who is perfect? Also,some people do not realize that he could sing a gorgeous legato line (one of my examples is Act two Chenier at "Credo al destino.") As Alvaro in Forza, at the end of the "Sleale" duet, he would drop the sword, come to the prompter's box, and let out a mighty high B natural that I can still hear in my ear! He was a moving Samson, a cute Ferrando, a brilliant Dick Johnson, and had he not passed away too soon, he would have lasted for many more years. His heart condition did not stop him for giving 1000% every night, and I recall how George Jellinek wrote him that he should ease up, but that was NOT what Tucker was all about. On his birthday, let us remember one of the greatest singers in opera history and a beloved family man as well.