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Rufus Wainwright goes to the opera

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Traditional musician side projects can be broken down into three categories: Making an album with an uber cool indie actress, acting in a film or TV series, and forming a super group. But if you’re Rufus Wainwright, your aspirations are much more grandiose. So much so in fact that the men behind “Dinner At Eight” has written his own opera.

Per an interview with Billboard.com, Wainwright has gone all Regina on us and composed the score and French lyrics to his classical opera Prima Donna. While he’s known to make baroque pop, this piece will be pop-free and make its North American debut in June 2010 at the Luminato Arts Festival in Toronto. It previously debuted in July at the Palace Theatre Manchester in the U.K.

“Opera is my religion,” Wainwright said. “That’s all I could listen to (when younger), and that’s all that I could comprehend.  It gave me all that I needed at that time, and still does in many ways”.

The “very spiritual experience” came together quickly for Wainwright, who has also done concerts featuring the music of Judy Garland. The production, Wainwright said, draws from Puccini and Ravel and features the standard fare of arias, duets and lots of melodies in its tale in the day in the life of an opera singer. While the classical world was disturbed by the popster playing in their world, Wainwright said audiences have shown nothing but appreciation.

And the opera is just the first item on Wainwright’s expansive list of accomplishments. He recently released the live album and DVD Milwaukee at Last!!!. The documentary is about Wainwright’s performance with a seven-piece band at the Pabst Theatre.

As for making pop music again, Wainwright yet again told Billboard.com recently that his next album will be a piano and voice album and it should hit shelves in spring 2010.

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