Fletcher Scholar Gets Lead In Italian Opera

Fletcher Scholar Gets Lead In Italian Opera


Fletcher Scholar Lucy Tucker Yates landed the role of a lifetime in Milan, Italy.

Fletcher Scholar Lucy Tucker Yates will be on a plane to Italy on Sunday morning. That’s after she performs in Beatrice di Tenda on Friday night and at a benefit in Durham on Saturday evening. Yates will be on her way to begin rehearsals for the leading role of Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata in Milan, Italy, chosen by none other than opera legend Placido Domingo and theatrical giant Franco Zeffirelli.

Yates was selected from a field of 50 sopranos as one of three, and the only American, to rotate in the role during the winter and early spring. She first auditioned in New York and then was one of eight to audition for the masters in person in Italy. Domingo will conduct and Zefferilli design the Toscanini Foundation production.

“Every actress since the mid-19th century has wanted this role,” beamed Yates. For her getting the role is more than a dream, it is THE beginning.


Yates played a variety of roles for the National Opera Company, including Anne Truelove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress.

A love of early music drew her towards opera. She says she tends to like the formal as opposed to informal, so she is naturally attracted to opera, a more classical genre than other types of vocal performance. She earned a BM in piano and English from UNC-CH and an MM in voice from the Manhattan School of Music.

Yates became a scholar in the National Opera Company (NOC) in September of 2000. When the organization merged with the NC School of the Arts to form the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute the next year, she became one the of the first six Fletcher Fellows in the new program.

“Needless to say, this is not only great news for Lucy, it is also a ringing endorsement of the talent of the NOC and the Fletcher Institute,” said AJFF Tom McGuire. The Foundation sought to keep A.J. Fletcher’s dream of educating promising young singers alive, and Yates’ selection confirmed that they have indeed succeeded in keeping that dream by merging Fletcher’s beloved company with the School of the Arts.

Yates will perform in the Fletcher Institute’s production of Beatrice di Tenda tonight, Friday, Feb 8 at 8:00pm in the Fletcher Opera Theater in the BTI Performing Arts Center in downtown Raleigh.
Call (919) 831-6060 for tickets.

“It is easy to see why Franco Zeffirelli hired Lucy Tucker Yates to sing in his ‘La Traviata’ this spring,” wrote, N&O correspondent Roy Dicks wrote about Yates’ opening night of Beatrice di Tenda performance. “As Beatrice, she acts with conviction and emotion, holding the audience’s attention with every move. She has a strong voice, capable of powerful high notes and dramatic chest tones, hushed expressions of sorrow and dazzling outbursts of joy. This is a daunting role for any soprano, and Yates gives it full measure.”

The past few weeks have been a harrowing schedule of coaching sessions, voice lessons, and tête-à-têtes about Violetta. Yates’ final week before departing for Italy has been a whirlwind tour to move out of her apartment, store the boxes in her parents’ house and sing Beatrice in Winston-Salem one weekend and Raleigh the next, with a dash to New York City for lessons and coaching in between.

“I hope it leads to an international career, but what I really want to do is serve Verdi and serve Violetta and Zeffirelli,” said Yates. “It’s a lot of pressure to want to make Verdi proud.”

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