David Tucker, son of the legendary American tenor Richard Tucker, has been removed from the board of directors of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation.
On July 18, soprano Julia Bullock shared an article from the Washington Post on her Facebook page, quoting protesters in Portland who were being detained by federal officers in unmarked vans. Mr. Tucker commented, “Good. Get rid of these thugs and I don’t care where you send them. They are a Pox on our society.”
More offensive comments followed. After tenor Russell Thomas noted in a comment that the Tucker Foundation had only once given its top prize, the Richard Tucker Award, to a Black artist since its conception in 1978, Mr. Tucker wrote that “pulling the race card is another convenient excuse to modify excellent standards of vocal artistry.”
Many singers, including Lisette Oropesa, Stephanie Blythe and Lawrence Brownlee, the only Black singer to be a recepient of the Foundation’s big prize since 1978, publicly condemned Mr. Tucker’s comments. Joyce DiDonato, who also sits on the board, tweeted that she would not continue to serve unless he was removed.
On July 20, the The Richard Tucker Music Foundation released this statement:
“The Richard Tucker Music Foundation condemns the hurtful and offensive comments made by one of our Board members, David Tucker. David has been removed from the Richard Tucker Foundation Board of Directors, effective immediately. David’s opinions do not align with the beliefs and mission of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation, a Foundation built on the legacy of a Jewish-American singer who sought to bridge religious and cultural differences.
The Foundation recognizes the need to find ways we can better apply core values of equality and inclusion across our organization and programs. We know that we can improve our auditions and awards process to create more equitable opportunities and increase diversity organization-wide. To this end, we are currently assembling a diversity advisory task force of artists and thought leaders to address these issues. We look forward to openly sharing our next steps and continuing to support the next generation of operatic talent.”