Clay Hilley Wins Richard Tucker Award

By Francisco Salazar

The Richard Tucker Music Foundation has announced that Clay Hilley is the 2024 Richard Tucker Award winner.

The award comes with a $50,000 cash prize as well as the ongoing support of the Tucker family and foundation. It is hoped that the award acts as a well-timed catalyst to elevate the selected artist’s career to even greater heights.

In a statement, President Barry Tucker said,  “The Richard Tucker Music Foundation is proud to announce that tenor Clay Hilley is the recipient of the 2024 Richard Tucker Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize an artist poised on the verge of a major international opera career, and Clay Hilley fits that description perfectly. Clay has developed into that rarest of singers, a true Heldentenor, specializing in the almost unsingable roles of Wagner and Richard Strauss. His breakthrough moment was stepping into the opening of a new production of Götterdämmerung at the Bayreuth Festival in 2022, and his performances of the leading Wagner and Strauss roles at Bayreuth, the Deutsche Opera Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, and with the Berlin Philharmonic have announced him as a leading Heldentenor of his generation. We are proud to support and honor this impressive singer who we believe will continue the legacy of the Richard Tucker Award.”

Hilley added, “I am stunned and thrilled to learn that I’ve been selected to receive the most coveted of all singer prizes, the Richard Tucker Award. Being counted among the elite singers who’ve claimed this award over time is an ecstatic thing. I humbly thank the Board of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation for finding me worthy. I also cannot fail to thank the One from whom all talent flows. Soli Deo gloria.”

Over the past years, Hilley has won acclaim performing at the Bayreuth Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Canadian Opera Company, and Bayerische Staatsoper.

He joins a list of past winners that include Angel Blue, Jamie Barton, Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, Isabel Leonard, Lisette Oropesa, Matthew Polenzani, Nadine Sierra, and Deborah Voigt.