Rufus Wainwright debut Opera to premiere at Manchester International Festival

Rufus Wainwright

Manchester International Festival, the world's first festival of original, new work, announces the first three commissions for its 2009 event, including Rufus Wainwright's debut opera Prima Donna.

Prima Donna is a portrait of a fading opera singer, set in Paris and sung in French. This new opera is directed by Daniel Kramer, conducted by Pierre-André Valade and designed by Antony McDonald. Prima Donna will feature the soprano Janis Kelly, taking the lead role Madame, soprano Rebecca Bottone, tenor William Joyner and baritone Jonathan Summers.

"Rufus Wainwright has an exceptional gift for melody and clearly has a deep affinity with opera. We're delighted to be working with him as he moves into this new form", said Festival Director Alex Poots.

Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists and songwriters of his generation, releasing half a dozen acclaimed albums. Prima Donna is his first opera.

There will be five performances of Prima Donna at Manchester's Palace Theatre: 10, 14, 17 July (evening) and 12, 19 July 2009 (matinee). Tickets went on sale at noon, Friday 10 October, 2008 online via and by phone 0844 815 4960, priced £12.50 - £47.50. Please note that Rufus Wainwright will not be performing in Prima Donna.

Prima Donna is produced in partnership with Opera North whose orchestra will be performing and who will be providing their rehearsal space at their studios in Leeds. Prima Donna is commissioned by MIF, with thanks to Alistair Spalding for his collaboration and support.

Manchester International Festival, the world's first festival of original, new work and special events, takes place biennially in Manchester, UK. The Festival launched in 2007 as an artist-led, commissioning festival presenting new works from across the spectrum of performing arts, visual arts and popular culture. Among the 25 world premieres in the 2007 Festival were Monkey: Journey to the West, a new opera directed by Chen Shi Zheng, composed by Damon Albarn and designed by Jamie Hewlett.

Manchester International Festival '09 will run from Thursday 2 Sunday 19 July 2009.

The entire Festival programme will be announced in March 2009.

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MIF Official Website

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