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February 15, 2012

Rufus Wainwright’s New York City Opera Premiere

By Jamie Wiebe

Music:Rufus Wainwright’s New York City Opera Premiere
Robert Workman

After recent turns in Faust and La Bohème, soprano superstar Melody Moore is returning to the New York City Opera to headline the U.S. premiere of indie legend Rufus Wainwright’s first opera, Prima Donna. The French libretto follows aging soprano Régine Saint Laurent (portrayed by Moore) in her attempts to regain fame in 1970s Paris. Wainwright himself found fame in the late ‘90s as a pianist/singer-songwriter/Renaissance Man; since then, he’s released eight albums and two DVDs, won two Juno awards for Best Alternative Album (one for Rufus Wainwright in 1999 and another for Poses in 2002), garnered multiple acting credits and—of coursepenned the critically-lauded Prima Donna. His musical pedigree (he’s the son of folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle) and flair for orchestral pop make for an easy transition to the live stage. Englishman Tim Albery, a longtime advocate for innovative new opera, is directing the production, which opens February 19 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House. Together, Wainwright, Albery and Moore weave betrayal, nostalgia and loss into an emotional tapestry celebrated as “a love song to opera.” Tickets $25; February 19, 21, 23 and 25; nycopera.org