By VERENA DOBNIK
NEW YORK (AP) - This year's prestigious Richard Tucker opera award goes to mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard.
The 2013 prize marks the centennial of the birth of the great tenor who started his career as a cantor in New York synagogues.
Each year, an American singer on the edge of a major international career wins the prize - and $30,000. It's been called the "Heisman Trophy of opera."
Past recipients include soprano Renee Fleming, mezzo Joyce DiDonato and tenor Lawrence Brownlee.
The Richard Tucker Music Foundation started in 1975 shortly after his death.
The 31-year-old Leonard has appeared at opera houses from Chicago and Santa Fe to Vienna, Munich and Paris, and with the New York Philharmonic and other top orchestras.
Richard Tucker Music Foundation: http://richardtucker.org
Isabel Leonard's website: http://isabelleonard.com
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