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Musical World

Richard Leech

  • Tenor

Biography

Richard Leech: Following his 1987 European debut with Berlin’s Deutche Oper as Raoul in Les Huguenots, the headline of the Berliner Morgen Post read: “A World Star is Born”, and true to the it’s forecast, debuts quickly followed in virtually every major opera house of the world.
About his much anticipated debut with Metropolitan Opera, in September of 1989, as Rodolfo La Bohème, the New York Times wrote: “Other than Pavarotti on his best night, I can’t think of another tenor I’d rather hear in the part”. Since then, he has sung nearly 200 Met performances in a dozen leading tenor roles (many for the popular Texaco Radio Broadcast Series), including: La Bohème, Tosca, Faust, Carmen, Romèo et Juliette, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, Un ballo in maschera, Lucia di Lammermoor, L’elisir d’amore, Les contes d’Hoffmann, and Mefistofele.
Balancing his U.S. and European engagements, Mr. Leech continues to return to many of the other great opera houses of the world. In addition to the Met, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the opera companies of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, and San Diego, Mr. Leech has enjoyed a career that has regularly taken him to Opèra National de Paris, Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala, Florence’s Teatro Comunale, and Deutsche Oper Berlin, to name a few.
In concert, Mr. Leech has distinguished himself with the Vienna and New York Philharmonics, as well as the National and Montrèal Symphonies, among myriad others. With his concert “An Evening with Richard Leech - In Tribute to Mario Lanza”, Mr. Leech embraces the crossover style of his childhood hero, and has become one of the foremost interpreters of this repertoire. In venues as large as Chicago’s Grant Park, and as prestigious as Carnegie Hall, this “musical and biographical journey” has brought to life the memory and legacy of the beloved tenor for many thousands of his adoring fans and has introduced him a whole new generation.
A number of Mr. Leech's performances have been televised, including the new production of Madama Butterfly, the James Levine 25th Anniversary Gala; both with the Met, a “Live from Lincoln Center” Rigoletto with the New York City Opera, and many appearances on the annual Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala.
In 1995, Mr. Leech had the distinct honor of singing for President Clinton and the first family at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, with Aretha Franklin and Trisha Yearwood. Mr. Leech was the recipient of the prestigious Richard Tucker Award in 1989, and The Voice Foundation’s “Voice Education, Research, and Awareness” (VERA) Award. His impressive discography provides further evidence of Mr. Leech's exceptional versatility. Among his more than a dozen recordings are: the Duke in Rigoletto and Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera (Teldec); Rodolfo in La Bohème and Raoul in Les Huguenots (Erato); the title role in Faust and the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier (EMI); Alfred in Die Fledermaus and Narraboth in Salome (Philips); La damnation de Faust (London/Decca); and the Mahler Symphony No. 8 (Sony). His most recent releases include his solo album "from the heart"- a collection of Italian arias and songs (Telarc), and I Lombardi, which marked Mr. Leech's premiere recording with James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera (London/Decca).
A 1991 Berlin performance of Les Huguenots (in German) was recently released on DVD (Arthaus). The human voice has been called the "most versatile of all musical instruments", for it communicates in ways nothing else can. Communication is a key word for Mr. Leech, and it is what he conveys so magnificently with the warm timbre of his beautiful voice. He has brought this gift to audiences around the world.
In an interview with Lisa Marum for Ovation magazine, Mr. Leech remarked, "If you're comfortable on stage and feel joy in being there, that gets transmitted across the footlights." For these gifts, he has been hailed by fans and critics alike, time and time again.