TORONTO – The Canadian Opera Company has commissioned a piece by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and playwright Daniel MacIvor.
The COC says Wainwright is the composer and MacIvor is doing the libretto for the opera, titled Hadrian.
The story is inspired by the Roman Emperor Hadrian and his love for Antinous at the end of the classical era.
The opera company says Hadrian is in development and is slated to make its world premiere as the opening show for the 2018/2019 mainstage season.
This is the second opera for the Grammy-nominated Wainwright, who’s won several Juno Awards.
His first opera was Prima Donna, which made its North American debut in Toronto in 2010.
“The story of Hadrian and Antinous has long fascinated me,” he said in a statement. “Be it through initially reading Marguerite Yourcenar’s classic novel Memoirs of Hadrian, going further afield in investigating the history surrounding his reign — arguably one of the most critical periods in the western time line since it represents the end of the classical era — or most importantly visiting Tivoli, Hadrian’s villa near Rome, which, though crumbling, impressively illustrates the might and vision of an incredible man.
“He was an Emperor filled with ambition, sensitivity and intelligence and like all big political figures he also had a tormented and brooding dark side. Perfect opera material.”
MacIvor, who’s won a Governor General’s award as well as the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre, is making his debut as a librettist with Hadrian.