Rufus Wainwright: Opera is My Religion

2.17.2012

By Jerry Portwood

The singer explains its creative importance in advance of the American premiere of his opera, 'Prima Donna' at BAM this weekend.

Photos courtesy of NYCO

It's a big year for Rufus Wainwright. He has a new album out May 1 titled Out of the Game, which is produced by Mark Ronson. He's also working on a tribute album to his recently deceased mother (and something of a muse) Kate McGarrigle. But first, is the American premiere of his opera Prima Donna, which opens February 19 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Howard Gilman Opera House (all remaining tickets are just $25) and continues through Feb. 25.

"I'm so busy, I should drop dead at any moment," Rufus told us during a recent interview when we caught up with him during a rehearsal for the opera. "Somehow when I work a lot, I tend to take better care of myself. You gotta be present, and you gotta be strong to do this."

As Rufus explained, he's been an opera fan since he was 13 years old. "It's kind of my religion in a lot of ways, the opera," he said. "The opera house is my church, and I go there often."

He also explains the inspiration—including Maria Callas, the French movie Diva, and his mother. Watch the interview and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of a February rehearsal. 

For more information about NYCO's season, and to purchase $25 tickets to the upcoming performances, visit its website.

 

Watch an interview with George Steel, New York City Opera artistic director and manager, who explains how Prima Donna came to be performed by NYCO and Rufus's commitment to opera.

 

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