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Audra McDonald-Hosted 'Richard Tucker at 100: An Opera Celebration' Airs Tonight

Live From Lincoln Center will broadcast the Richard Tucker Music Foundation's 2013 gala concert, one of the most highly anticipated events of the opera season, from Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. The concert event will celebrate the legendary tenor's centenary with an illustrious all-American group of singers, and honoring this year'sRichard Tucker Award winner Isabel Leonard. The "Richard Tucker at 100: An Opera Celebration" broadcast-hosted byAudra McDonald and featuring interstitial interviews with the artists, segments from backstage, and a short documentary on Richard Tucker's life-is taped from a concert on November 17, and will air on PBS stations tonight, January 10, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. (ET) (check local listings).

For the past 38 years, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation's annual gala event has presented the world's biggest opera stars on one stage on one night. This year's event is no exception: in a special tribute to celebrate the centenary of the late Brooklyn-born tenor's birth, a star-studded group of American singers will take the stage for a program of favorite arias and ensembles. Performers include Stephanie Blythe, Stephen Costello, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Gregg Grimsley, Angela Meade, Eric Owens, Ailyn Pérez, Matthew Polenzani, and Patricia Racette, joining the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the New York Choral Society, under the baton of conductor Riccardo Frizza. Many of the singers featured on the program are past recipients of the foundation's biggest prize, the Richard Tucker Award, which gave them recognition and much neede funds at a crucial point in their careers.

This year's Richard Tucker Award recipient is the "fresh, effervescent, and lovely" (New York Times) Isabel Leonard, a native New Yorker and rising star in the United States and abroad. Besides her current run as Dorabella in the Met's Così fan tutteunder James Levine, which will be broadcast to cinemas worldwide in the spring as part of the company's Live in HD series, the 2013-14 season sees Leonard in her highly-anticipated debuts at the San Francisco Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Dallas Opera as Rosina in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Last season also saw Leonard in an array of distinguished roles. She sang Miranda in Adès's The Tempest, Blanche in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, and Rosina in the English version of Rossini's Barber of Seville. She also made her debut with the Canadian Opera Company as Sesto in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito and impressed audiences in recital at Carnegie's Zankel Hall. Last year, she appeared on a segment about Lincoln Center and the Met Opera on Sesame Street.

Founded in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to perpetuating the artistic legacy of the great Brooklyn-born tenor by nurturing the careers of talented American opera singers and bringing opera into the community. Through awards, grants for study, performance opportunities and other activities, the Foundation provides professional development for singers at each stage of their careers. The Foundation also offers free performances in the New York Metropolitan area and supports music education enrichment programs. The Foundation's most substantial prize is the annual Richard Tucker Award: $30,000 given to an artist judged to be on the threshold of a major international career, with previous award winners including Renée Fleming, David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Deborah Voigt, Lawrence Brownlee and Angela Meade. More information available at

Live From Lincoln Center is a cornerstone of performing arts broadcasting, presenting the world's greatest artists and performances in music, dance and theater from Lincoln Center's renowned stages. Now in its 39th season on PBS, the pioneering series-produced by Lincoln Center Media Productions-has been seen by hundreds of millions of viewers since its debut and celebrated by 13 Emmy Awards and other honors for its broadcasting excellence. Episodes and additional content are accessible online at and

This episode is directed for television by Emmy Award winner Annette Jolles, whose credits include the worldwide coverage of the 9/11 Memorial from Ground Zero, Mitzi Gaynor: Razzle Dazzle! on PBS, and Broadway Under the Stars. The executive producer is Andrew C. Wilk. Lincoln Center's Chief Media and Digital Officer, Elizabeth W. Scott, is executive in charge of the series' production.

Live From Lincoln Center is made possible by a major grant from MetLife.

In addition to underwriting from MetLife, the series is also made possible with generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson 1962 Charitable Trust, Thomas H. Lee and Ann Tenenbaum, The Robert and Renée Belfer Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional episode funding is provided by Cadillac, a division of General Motors.


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