Primo Ru­fus

Ru­fus Wain­wright makes his Hong Kong de­but with a per­for­mance of his opera, Prima Donna, and some of his great­est hits

Hong Kong Tatler - - Concierge -

he great­est song­writer on the planet (ac­cord­ing to El­ton John), Ru­fus Wain­wright creates raw and con­fes­sional tunes that ex­pand the genre of pop with in­flu­ences from folk and opera. His easy charisma and dis­plays of melo­drama charm and wow au­di­ences. The Us-born, Canada-raised mu­si­cian hails from folk roy­alty—his par­ents are singers Kate Mcgar­rigle and Loudon Wain­wright III. Ru­fus be­gan play­ing the pi­ano at the age of six and first toured with his fam­ily when 13. This early start put him in good stead for a ca­reer that has seen seven stu­dio al­bums, three live al­bums and a num­ber of world tours. Wain­wright com­man­deers the stage of the Cul­tural Cen­tre on March 1 as part of the Arts Fes­ti­val. The pro­gramme be­gins with his glam­orously camp opera In­spired by leg­endary so­prano Maria Cal­las, it tells the story of an opera singer who loses her voice. It will be staged as a con­cert with the Hong Kong Phil­har­monic Or­ches­tra and ac­com­pa­nied by a spe­cially cre­ated film by Ital­ian artist and film­maker Francesco Vez­zoli. In the pro­gramme’s se­cond half, Wain­wright will per­form some of his great­est hits, likely to in­clude such favourites as Go­ing to a Town, Cig­a­rettes and Choco­late Milk and The One You Love. hk.arts­fes­ti­ What are you most look­ing for­ward to shar­ing with the Hong Kong au­di­ence? Your opera or your best­known hits? The opera for me is very ex­cit­ing be­cause I can ac­tu­ally sit in the au­di­ence and ap­pre­ci­ate it. If I could sit in the au­di­ence and watch my­self that would be pretty wild, so I’ll have to go with the opera.

Which of your songs did you most en­joy writ­ing? Beauty Mark, be­cause it proved to my mother that I was able to, you know, rock out. I think my mother was wor­ried I would be a bad song­writer, but Beauty Mark proved I could be kinda fun.

How do you feel when you per­form? I feel very spaced out. It’s like go­ing to an­other planet.

Name three artists we should be lis­ten­ing to There’s Lhasa de Sela, a great Mon­treal artist who sadly died from can­cer. Her records are ab­so­lutely gor­geous. There’s my sis­ter Martha Wain­wright and my sis­ter Lucy Wain­wright Roche ... keep­ing it in the fam­ily!

What unites all your work no mat­ter the genre? I’d have to say ro­man­ti­cism.

How has the mu­sic in­dus­try changed dur­ing your ca­reer? There’s not as much money and there­fore it’s more in­tense: the bat­tle to sur­vive.

Who’s your favourite Asian mu­si­cian? I love Chi­nese cel­list YoYo Ma.

Can we ex­pect an­other pop al­bum? Yes. I’m dy­ing to do an­other pop al­bum. As much as I love opera, I’m aware of where my bread and but­ter is and I’m still in the run­ning.

What’s the big­gest myth about be­ing a fa­mous mu­si­cian? That you en­joy at­ten­tion.

Which song do you wish you’d writ­ten your­self? I’d have to say Ol’ Man River by Os­car Ham­mer­stein.

popera Ru­fus Wain­wright’s opera Prima Donna is ac­com­pa­nied by a film by Ital­ian con­tem­po­rary artist Francesco Vez­zoli with Cindy Sher­man in the star­ring role (in­set)

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