- Associated Press - Monday, April 4, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Soprano Tamara Wilson has won the award dubbed the Heisman Trophy for singers.

The Richard Tucker Award, along with a $50,000 cash prize, was announced Monday in New York. It goes to an American opera singer on the cusp of a major international career.

Since it was created in 1975 and named for the late Brooklyn-born tenor, many winners have become stars on world stages, including soprano Renee Fleming and last year’s honoree, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton.

Wilson, 34, said that when she got the call she jumped for joy around her London hotel room “for a solid 10 minutes.”

Wilson made her critically acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut in 2014 singing the title role in Verdi’s “Aida.”

As this year’s winner, picked by a panel of professionals, she’ll be featured at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 30.

Wilson, who grew up in Naperville, Illinois, outside Chicago, is part of a new generation of singers reaching out to a popular audience whose tastes may not initially include opera.

On the YouTube channel Exit Stage Left, the effervescent singer offers earthy, zany chats about offstage life that could be useful to anybody, from how to pack for long work trips to a long list of cold remedies and advice on surviving and thriving in a tough, competitive world.

She promises a “Sexi Soprano Webinar” about “blocking the haters, building up your self-confidence and pushing out the negativity in a world … where you’re constantly being judged, broken down, told from all different directions what you should be, how you should act, what you should wear, how you should sound.”

Wilson has sung in top theaters from Spain, Germany and England to Chile, Brazil and Japan.

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