Rufus Wainwright Composes Opera

Rufus Wainwright Composes Opera
Montreal’s Rufus Wainwright is stepping out of the confines of pop to compose his first opera. Titled Prima Donna, the stage production will debut at the Manchester International Festival in 2009 and come as a two-act, two-hour show featuring a full orchestra and four singers. However, none will be Wainwright.

The songwriter is strictly sticking to the role of composer on this one, CBC reports, and will let sopranos Janis Kelly and Rebecca Bottone, tenor William Joyner and baritone Jonathan Summers lead the performance on stage. These singers will be directed by Alex Poots, who will help Wainwright tell the tale of a fading opera star in Paris getting set for a comeback.

"When I mention that I'm crazy about opera, people usually ask if I've been to Phantom," Wainwright recently told the Telegraph, "but that's not what I mean at all. Although I like a lot of modern opera — John Adams and Birtwistle, for instance — I think it's become rather one-dimensional. I'm more interested in relating to that period in opera history when someone like Massenet could write the Romantic crowd-pleasers. And I think that because of my position in the pop world, I'm the only person around at the moment who can do that."

Five performances of Prima Donna will be held at the Manchester Palace Theatre, starting July 10. There is no word yet whether the opera will make its way onto CD.

Rufus Wainwright "Tiergarten” (Supermayer Remix)