Rufus Wainwright on Imagine, BBC One (Prima Donna)

Rufus Wainwright on Imagine, BBC One

To coincide with the launch of Rufus Wainwright's debut opera - the Premiere of which is on Friday 10th July, 2009 at the Palace Theatre Manchester - Alan Yentob has followed Rufus for an Imagine special airing Tuesday 7th July at 22.35 on BBC One.


More information:

In this Imagine, Alan Yentob explores the rapid rise of the most mercurial talent of the modern music scene, Rufus Wainwright. Rufus is a truly extraordinary singer and composer of some of the most sophisticated pop music and affecting lyrics of the last thirty years – a man who Elton John called the “best songwriter in the world”. The film both tells Rufus’s colourful story and follows his journey as he creates his very first opera, Prima Donna and he is plunged into the very midst of the classical world.

Opera has always been a great love of Rufus’s, but in this documentary Rufus reveals to Alan how he arrived at this point. He talks candidly about his background; the family of musical luminaries (father: Loudon Wainwright; mother Kate McGarrigle; sister Martha Wainwright), his troubled personal history with drugs and also the tensions that have informed his music.

It is the creation of the opera that provides the spine of the film. From the first workshop through to the run up to opening night, Imagine have captured the highs and lows as Rufus embarks on the mammoth task of creating his first opera. Alan finds out what it felt like being the outsider when all the more established opera colleagues ganged up against him and his co-librettist.

Alan Yentob catches up with Rufus in his childhood home in Montréal, in New York where he now lives and where he performs with his family for a Christmas special, and of course in Leeds and Manchester where the opera, Prima Donna, will make its bow. The film also contains footage of Rufus in Berlin where we see him creating his first classical work with avant garde director Robert Wilson, and performing in a solo show.

This is a unique insight into an artist at the height of his powers, and a snapshot of a star taking a leap into the unknown.

As well as interviews and special performances or songs old and new with Rufus himself, the film includes interviews with Kate McGarrigle, Loudon Wainwright III, Anna McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright and celebrated soprano Renée Fleming.

© Pixelboost/ Isis Productions Ltd. 2009

Imagine, BBC One

For more information, go to:

BBC One - Imagine ; Rufus Wainwright, Prima Donna - BBC One

Rufus Wainwright Official Website

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