Rufus Wainwright's Prima Donna Set for New York City Opera Debut

News   Rufus Wainwright's Prima Donna Set for New York City Opera Debut
Prima Donna, the Bastille Day-set opera by Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, will make its Gotham debut in spring 2012 at the New York City Opera.

Scottish soprano Janis Kelly, who originated the role of aging soprano Régine Saint-Laurent in the world premiere of Prima Donna, will repeat her work in the New York debut. NYCO general manager and artistic director George Steel announced the production as part of the 2011-2012 season Dec. 7.

Bernadette Colomine authored the French-language libretto for the opera, which had its premiere at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, England on July 10, 2009. Tim Albery, who staged the North American premiere of the opera, will repeat his duties for the NYCO production.

Complete casting will be announced at a later date.

"For me, many an incredible evening of great theatre and wonderful music have occurred after that brief walk past the famous circular fountain, situated smack in the middle of Lincoln Center," Wainwright said in a statement. "Now, on the opening night of Prima Donna, I will take that same walk not only as spectator but also as composer: What a thrill, and Thank you New York City Opera! Oh yes, and by the way, I must admit, I once had a strange premonition that something like this would happen. STRIDE LA VAMPA!"

It is fitting that Prima Donna should finally make its New York City debut at the Koch Theater within the Lincoln Center complex. The work was first announced as a co-commission by the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater. The Manchester International Festival later picked up the commission of the French-language opera. According to NYCO, "Prima Donna tells the story of Régine Saint Laurent, an aging opera singer attempting to confront her past to again regain her triumphant status as one of the world’s greatest sopranos."

Wainwright, an accomplished musician in his own right, is the son of folk musicians Loudon Wainwright III and the late Kate McGarrigle. In addition to his self-titled album, his releases include "Poses," "Want One," "Want Two," "Release the Stars" and "All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu." He also performed Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall at the famed New York venue in 2006. A Grammy-nominated album captures the concerts, which were also performed at London's Palladium, Paris' L'Olympia and Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl. He also composed an adaptation of Shakespeare Sonnets with director Robert Wilson.

In May 2010, the American Conservatory Theatre's Young Conservatory debuted Beautiful Child, a musical with a book by Craig Slaight featuring a score culled from Wainwright's repertoire.

For further information visit NYCOpera. New York City Opera stage productions take place at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

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