Audra McDonald to Host 'Live from Lincoln Center'

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The actress and soprano Audra McDonald is moving to the role of host for the PBS series “Live From Lincoln Center.” She will preside over at least seven broadcasts starting next month, filling a position that has been vacant since another soprano, Beverly Sills, died in 2007.

McDonald’s appointment begins with "The Richard Tucker Opera Gala" on Dec. 13 and continues with the New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve gala celebrating Marvin Hamlisch, the New York Times reports.

McDonald, who recently won her fifth Tony Award for the title role in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, has had an affiliation with Lincoln Center since her student days at Juilliard in the early 1990s. She performed on a 2006 Live from Lincoln Center telecast with the New York Philharmonic.

The announcement comes at a time of some uncertainty for the much-honored, 37-year-old program. In June, John Goberman, its creator and executive producer left, just two months after the National Endowment for the Arts pulled its annual $100,000 grant to the series. The show also recently began offering its programs for on-demand video streaming on the PBS website. It remains one of the few significant destinations on television for classical music.

Below: Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis Perform in The Greene Space: