Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Raw Grief and Genius; Pop

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Raw Grief and Genius; Pop

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMYTH

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT Sadler's Wells, EC2 AFTER the pomp of the previous night's London premiere of his first opera, Prima Donna, Rufus Wainwright sat alone at the piano in the same theatre and sang about the death of his mother.

Despite the minimal set-up the perpetual showman maintained his sense of theatre. Having requested complete audience silence from start to end of his first set, in near pitch darkness he entered as he later exited, processing at glacial pace across stage in a long black gown that trailed far behind him -- a mourning Queen Victoria on a funeral march towards his instrument.

Under one dim spotlight he then played his new album, All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu, track by track. It includes three of Shakespeare's sonnets set to music, an aria in French from his opera, and several personal depictions of recent family life.

The song Martha took the form of an answerphone message to his sister. "Time to go up north and see mother/Things are so much harder for her now," he sang in his slurred, bruised voice. …

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