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Wainwright opera gets New York premiere

City Opera to produce 'Prime Donna' in 2012

Rufus Wainwright opera “Prima Donna” will have a Gotham run during the 2011-12 season at New York City Opera — right across the Lincoln Center plaza for the company that first commissioned the work.

The opera, with music composed by Wainwright and a libretto co-written in French with Bernadette Colomine, was first announced in 2006 as part of the Met/LCT Opera/Theater Commissions, an initiative that saw the Met and Lincoln Center Theater enlisting opera and theater creatives to produce new fare.

A couple of years later, the Wainwright project and the Met/LCT commission project parted ways over the fact that “Prima Donna” is written in French. The Met and LCT were hoping to up the accessibility factor of the new commissions with English-language productions.

Commission then shifted to the U.K.’s Manchester Festival, London venue Sadler’s Wells, and arts fests in Toronto and Portland.

“Prima Donna,” about an aging opera star, preemed in Manchester in 2009 and also was seen a Toronto’s Luminato fest in June, with excerpts performed as part of Portland’s Time-Based Art Fest and a concert lined up for June 2011 at London’s Royal Opera House.

Janis Kelly will star in the City Opera production, to be directed by Tim Albery. Opera is targeting a spring 2012 bow.

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