Artist News

Rufus Wainwright planning Hadrian-inspired opera

By | Published on Wednesday 4 December 2013

Rufus Wainwright

Having written French libretto ‘Primadonna’ in 2009, Rufus Wainwright is working on what’s to be his ‘sophomore’ opera, quite slowly, since supposedly it won’t go public till 2018.

It’s inspired by the life of Roman Emperor Hadrian, also drawing from ‘Memoirs Of Hadrian’, a 1951 novel by Marguerite Yourcenar, and is a collaboration with playwright/director/composer Daniel MacIvor.

Together they tell The Globe And Mail that the story has it all; “a big chorus, lots of characters, the Nile… all of South Asia actually, a love story… a political story … all the elements of traditional grand opera”.

Wainwright adds: “It’s important to bring back some of that grandeur of opera of the past. I think in our modern world, among younger audiences especially, there’s a hunger for a sort of spectacle that the opera world thinks is no longer relevant. They’re like, ‘I don’t want you to sing about my life; I’m here to see something bigger and grander'”.

Rufus will premiere his new production in 2018 with Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company.