Five-time Tony winner Audra McDonald has a new award to add to her trophy case: The Broadway superstar as been named “Musician of the Year” by Musical America, a century-old classical music journal now published online. McDonald will receive her award, which has been given since 1960, at a ceremony to be held on December 17 at Lincoln Center.
“Audra McDonald is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both singer and actress,” the awards announcement said. “She is fearless, vocally and physically. Her immediately recognizable soprano is rich, flexible, and incandescent, with a huge dynamic range, equally persuasive as silk or gravel, belt or whisper. It’s also genre-bending, since she can sing across the spectrum, from opera to blues, pop to gospel. She is what Barbara Cook calls ‘the whole package.’”
Although McDonald is not primarily known as a classical singer, she has starred in operatic musicals including Porgy and Bess, Marie Christine and 110 in the Shade. She made her opera debut in 2006 at the Houston Grand Opera in a double bill of Poulenc’s La voix humaine and the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa’s Send, She made her Los Angeles Opera debut in 2007 alongside Patti LuPone in John Doyle’s production of Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, which later won Grammy Awards for Best Opera Recording and Best Classical Album.
In addition to Porgy and Bess, McDonald received Tony Awards for her performances in Carousel, Master Class (as an aspiring opera singer), Ragtime and A Raisin in the Sun. She currently serves as host of PBS’ Live From Lincoln Center.