Rufus Wainwright hogs the limelight at debut opera performance

Singer-songwriter milks the applause at ‘Prima Donna’

Rufus Wainwright made a personal appearance at the debut performance of his opera ’Prima Donna’ at Manchester’s Palace Theatre last night (July 10).

Wainwright does not have a starring role in the French-language opera – but as its writer he joined the cast onstage at the end, to thunderous applause.

Dressed flamboyantly in a top hat and carrying a silver-topped cane, as well as sporting a full beard, the singer-songwriter clearly revelled in the acclaim, taking three curtain calls.

Ever the showman, Wainwright had earlier made a grand entrance, walking up the red carpet three times for the benefit of fans, before finally taking his seat for the performance.

’Prima Donna’ is Wainwright’s first foray into the world of opera, and tells the story of a retired soprano as she prepares to return to the stage.

It was originally commissioned by New York’s Metropolitan Opera, but they refused to show it thanks to Wainwright’s determination to write it in French.

The production therefore switched to Britain, where it forms part of Manchester International Festival, which runs until July 19 and also features performances by Elbow and Kraftwerk.

Review – ‘Prima Donna’ is bleak, overblown – and dazzlingly brilliant