Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wainwright's new opera premieres tomorrow

Montreal composer and Juno and Grammy winner Rufus Wainwright (okay so you likely know him better as a pop artist) is about to premiere a new opera at the Manchester International Festival tomorrow. the Opera, entitled Prima Donna, was originally set to premiere at the Met but plans fell through when, reportedly, Gelb didn't want it written in French but Wainwright did. Other sources, however, put the conflict at the Met not being willing to guarantee a 2009 premiere (2014 was their earliest slot for a new commission). It was co-commissioned by Manchester and Toronto's Luminato festival where it will get it's North American premiere next year.

This isn't some pop-opera though, the likes of which I've mentioned here before when Elvis Costello called his collection of country tunes an "opera." This actually has singers of "A" level house caliber, although not the initially rumoured Flemming or Te Kanawa originally floated to the press when the project began, and is expected to be musically styled towards the late 19th century. A pop singer who vacations at Bayreuth can't be all bad!

Wainwright discussing the new opera (French). Singing the aria from it, "Le feu d'artifice t'apelle" at the 2 min mark. He's singing though. Sounds promising.

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