We are ecstatic to report that CCM alumnae Tamara Wilson (BM Voice, 2004) and Amanda Woodbury (MM Voice, 2012) have both received major awards from the prestigious Richard Tucker Music Foundation.
Wilson, a soprano who studied with Barbara Honn while attending CCM, has been named winner of the 2016 Richard Tucker Award. Dubbed the “Heisman Trophy of Opera,” the Tucker Award carries the foundation’s most substantial cash prize of $50,000, and is conferred each year by a panel of opera industry professionals on an American singer at the threshold of a major international career. Featuring such luminaries as Renée Fleming, Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, David Daniels, Christine Goerke and Joyce DiDonato, the list of past winners reads like a who’s who of American opera. Wilson is a previous recipient of the Foundation’s Sara Tucker Study Grant in 2008 and Richard Tucker Career Grant in 2011.
Barry Tucker, president of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and son of the Brooklyn-born tenor, commented, “I first met Tamara Wilson when she auditioned for – and won – a Sara Tucker Study Grant in 2008. I was blown away not only by the power and sheer beauty of her voice, but also by how grounded she is as a person. Last year, when I was listening to the Saturday matinee broadcast of Aida from the Met and realized it was her singing the title role, I couldn’t have been more impressed by how she’s evolved as an artist. She has a bright future ahead of her, and we are thrilled to have her as our 2016 Richard Tucker Award winner.”
Wilson is not the only CCM-trained singer honored by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation this year. Woodbury, a soprano who studied with William McGraw while attending CCM, has been named a 2016 Richard Tucker Career Grant recipient. Selected through a vocal competition, these grants are provided to singers who have begun professional careers and who have already performed roles with opera companies nationally or internationally. As previously reported, Woodbury was awarded the Foundation’s Sara Tucker Grant in 2014.
About the Richard Tucker Music Foundation
Founded in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization that honors the artistic legacy of the great American tenor through support of talented American opera singers and by bringing opera into the community.
The Foundation’s awards program offers grants for study, performance opportunities and other career-enhancing activities, thereby providing professional development for singers at several levels of career-readiness. You can learn more about the Richard Tucker Music Foundation by visiting richardtucker.org/about.
About Tamara Wilson
American soprano Tamara Wilson made her much-anticipated Metropolitan Opera debut in December of 2014 in the title role of Aida, when the New York Times praised the “laserlike authority of her high notes,” and observed: “Her voice blooms with her palpable involvement in her own story: Her singing is urgent, her physical performance restrained yet powerful.”
Nominated for a 2016 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera after her English National Opera debut last fall as Leonora in La forza del destino, the soprano will make further debuts next season at the Bayerischer Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin. She was a finalist in the 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a Grand Prize Winner at Barcelona’s Annual Francisco Viñas Competition, a winner of the George London Award and the recipient of both a 2008 Sara Tucker Study Grant and a 2011 Richard Tucker Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.
After launching the present season headlining Aida at the Aspen Music Festival, Wilson returned to Oper Frankfurt as Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo; sang Lucrezia in Verdi’s I due Foscari in Santiago, Chile; made her Cleveland Orchestra debut; and joined Marin Alsop for Mahler in São Paulo. Back in the States after touring Japan as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, the soprano looks forward to taking Brahms’s German Requiem on an East Coast tour with Seraphic Fire and singing Desdemona in Otello at Cincinnati’s May Festival, in celebration of James Conlon’s 37th and final year as Music Director. Last season Wilson made her role and house debuts headlining Norma at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, following recent debuts at Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Carnegie Hall. In addition to being a CCM graduate, Wilson is also an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
About Amanda Woodbury
An alumna of Los Angeles Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, Amanda Woodbury was recently honored with the second place and Audience Choice awards in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition. She also won the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2014 Sara Tucker Study Grant, and both second place and Audience Choice awards at Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition.
Woodbury made her professional debut as Micaëla in Carmen at Los Angeles Opera, where she returned as Papagena in Die Zauberflöte. She then joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, appearing as Tebaldo in Don Carlo and covering the roles of Antonia and Stella in Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
This season she sang Leïla in Les pêcheurs de perles at the Met, and looks forward to appearing as Musetta in La bohème with the Los Angeles Opera. Having taken part in the Met’s “Rising Stars” concert tour, she looks forward to headlining a new Met production of Roméo et Juliette and making house debuts at PORTopera as Micaëla in Carmen and at Atlanta Opera as Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. Woodbury completed her Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance at CCM in 2012, after receiving her Bachelor of Music from Indiana University.
In a 2014 interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Woodbury reflected on her recent success and on her time at CCM, telling Janelle Gelfand:
“I sang two roles onstage [at CCM], Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and Madame Lidoine in Dialogues of the Carmelites. I can’t tell you how much that has helped my career. It helped me to prepare for the next step, and just everything they did opened up doors for me. I’m so glad I went to CCM, because I passed up Juilliard for CCM.”
You can read the Enquirer‘s full interview with Woodbury online here.
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Story by Curt Whitacre