This is the latest of several awards for Ohio native Brownlee, who won the 2006 Marion Anderson Award and the 2003 ARIA Award.
In March 2007, Brownlee will make his Metropolitan Opera debut as Almavivia in the company's new production of Il barbiere di Siviglia. Other upcoming engagements include La Fille de Regiment for the Hamburg State Opera, a return to Seattle Opera for L'italiana in Algeri, and debuts in Philadelphia, Houston, and Dresden.
He has previously sung witth the Vienna Staatsoper, San Diego Opera, and Teatro Real in Madrid. He made his debut at Teatro alla Scala as Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia during the 2001-02 season; he has returned to the house several times since.
Critic Tim Page, writing in the Washington Post, described Brownlee's instrument as "a voice of high, brilliant, florid beauty that he employs with spectacular confidence, dexterity and musical intelligence. His pitch is spot-on; his coloratura flourishes are immaculately calibrated."
The Richard Tucker Foundation was founded in 1978 in memory of the American tenor to further the careers of young singers with awards, grants, and professional opportunities. The Richard Tucker Award, the foundation's most prestigious honor, includes a cash prize of $30,000 and the opportunity to sing in the foundation's annual gala, which is broadcast nationally on PBS. Past winners include Matthew Polenzani, Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Deborah Voigt, Ren_e Fleming, David Daniels, and Dolora Zajick. Brownlee is the first African-American winner of the award.
The foundation also announced that $10,000 Richard Tucker career grants were awarded to mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich, 32; bass Jordan Bisch; baritone Quinn Kelsey; tenor Dimitri Pittas, 28; and countertenor Gerald Thompson, 29. Tenor Stephen Costello and mezzo-soprano Ann McMahon Quintero, both 25, and baritone Trevor Scheunemann, 27, won $5,000 Sara Tucker study grants.