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New Memoir from Opera Legend Richard Tucker’s Middle Son

By Galegirl
New Memoir from Opera Legend Richard Tucker’s Middle Son

David Tucker memoir

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The Hard Bargain, a new memoir by David Tucker and Burton Spivak

The middle son of legendary opera singer Richard Tucker, one of the finest natural tenors of his time, has published a new memoir called The Hard Bargain. Written by David Tucker and Burton Spivak, the book is a revealing portrait of growing up and getting along with a Metropolitan opera superstar father that is alternately revealing, humorous, and nostalgic.

The Hard Bargain is simply and elegantly told from the perspective of a bright and talented son who wanted to follow in his father’s operatic footsteps but who became an esteemed ophthalmologist instead.

In the many performances I sang with Richard Tucker, he was always an inspiration as a colleague and friend. I can say that the operatic community will love this memoir, and given David Tucker’s chosen profession, ophthalmology, and the way he pursued it, the medical community will love it as well. Richard would be beaming with pride that one of his sons, David, has co-authored an intimate and revealing portrayal of his relationship with his father, the tenor we knew as “The American Caruso.” — SHERRILL MILNES, International Opera Star

Every year, promising young opera singers contend for the most prestigious prize in the annals of opera performance, the Richard Tucker Award, conferred annually upon a single artist who has reached a high level of artistic accomplishment and is on the threshold of a major international career. Several Richard Tucker Award winners have been featured on, namely Stephanie Blythe (1999) and James Valenti (2010) and the reviews of other winners’ performances have graced these pages (Christine Goerke, Deb Voigt, and Renée Fleming.)

Lest you’ve forgotten or never knew that Richard Tucker was a splendid tenor—the primo tenore at the Metropolitan Opera for 30 years—here is a clip of Tucker singing “Vesti la giubba” from Pagliacci on “The Ed Sullivan Show”:

YouTube Preview Image

Richard Tucker died unexpectedly in 1975 from a heart attack. He had been on a concert tour in Michigan when he passed away at age 60, arguably at the height of his career.

Watch for my book review coming soon at


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