Rufus Wainwright is an original.
Everything in his life, he does his way.
The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer-songwriter has released seven studio albums, three DVDs, and three live albums, including the fantastic Grammy-nominated “Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall,” which captured his celebrated Judy Garland tribute performance at the London Palladium in 2007, and the album “Release the Stars,” which went gold in Canada and the United Kingdom.
Not to mention that he’s written an opera, “Prima Donna.”
His latest effort is “Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets.”
And if you look at the album cover, it is Wainwright dressed in Elizabethan attire. The painting for the cover was done by Albuquerque artist Timothy Cummings.
Wainwright says his husband, Jörn Weisbrodt, suggested reaching out to Cummings.
“Timothy is a friend and one of the great painters of this world,” Wainwright says.
The new album focuses on nine sonnets from William Shakespeare.
“I’ve always been inspired by Shakespeare and the sonnets,” he says. “Robert Wilson asked me to write music for a play containing 20 of the sonnets, which was premiered by the Berliner Ensemble in 2009. In 2010, the San Francisco Symphony commissioned orchestral versions of five of the sonnets. In combining the two ideas, I began to record the full album in 2015.”
Wainwright continues to keep busy by working on his second opera, “Hadrian,” which is commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company and will premiere in fall 2018 in Toronto.
“I have also written a huge pile of pop songs and just announced two shows in Australia and New Zealand for the Adelaide Festival and Auckland Arts Festival where I will be doing ‘Prima Donna: A Symphonic Visual Concert’ and selections from my Judy Garland shows.”