Christian Van Horn Is Your 2018 Richard Tucker Award Winner

By David Salazar

Bass-baritone Christian Van Horn has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Richard Tucker Award, given to an American singer on the “threshold of an international career.” The announcement was made on Monday.

The award comes with a $50,000 cash prize in addition to a high-profile concert in late 2018 which will feature Van Horn singing alongside past recipients of the award and other major international opera superstars. The 2017 recipient was soprano Nadine Sierra. This year’s gala will be on Oct. 21, 2018. 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Christian as this year’s Richard Tucker Award-winner. In addition to being a fantastic singer and actor, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet,” stated Barry Tucker, the foundation’s president and son of the famed tenor Richard Tucker. “As people in the opera business know, it takes a long time for a low voice like his to mature, and it’s been a privilege to watch and hear him grow since he first won a Study Grant from the Tucker Foundation 15 years ago. Needless to say, we’re excited to see the award go to the third bass in our history, and we look forward to the many great performances he has in his future.”

Van Horn is the first bass-baritone to win the award since 2003, when bass John Relyea was the winner. He is only the third of his vocal fach to achieve the feat. He is also the first male recipient of the award in five years, and only the second male winner in the past nine years; Michael Fabiano took home the prize in 2014. 

Per a press release, the news came as a huge surprise to the bass-baritone: “I was on a treadmill at the gym when I received Barry Tucker’s phone call saying I’d won the award. Being 39, it’s not something I was expecting, so I was very surprised, and it’s still sinking in. Receiving this honor means so much because the Tucker Foundation has been there for me since the very beginning. When I won a Sara Tucker Study Grant back in 2003, it both reaffirmed to me that this was something that was going to work and enabled me to survive as a young singer. I am incredibly grateful for Barry and the foundation’s ongoing support; joining this list of legendary singers is a dream come true.”

Van Horn has had a tremendous opera career to date, winning the Met Opera National Council Auditions in 2003 and then going on to perform in many of the world’s greatest opera houses, including Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Rome Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Netherlands Opera, and the Salzburg Festival, among others. In this season alone he was the star of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of “Faust” and he also appeared in “Anna Bolena” at the Canadian Opera Company, and “The Exterminating Angel” at the Met Opera. Next season he debuts in Paris and takes on the title role in “Mephistofele” at the Met Opera