Wainwright's first opera to get world premiere in UK

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

An opera by the singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright is to have its world debut in Manchester after being turned down by the New York Met. The Canadian's first foray into the world of opera, Prima Donna, was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera in New York, but was not performed after Wainwright refused to change the libretto from French to English.

Instead it will be performed at the second Manchester International Festival as one of its highlights, alongside a collaboration between the Mercury Prize winners Elbow and the Hallé Orchestra, and the first-ever full-length concert featuring Lou Reed and his new wife, Laurie Anderson.

Wainwright has spent the past year writing and orchestrating the piece, which will be performed in two acts at Manchester's Palace Theatre, which is set to be the new northern home of the Royal Opera House.

It tells the story of a faded operatic soprano about to return to the stage after a six-year lay-off. Speaking at the launch yesterday, Wainwright said he hoped to reach new audiences with the work. "Opera seems to have been hijacked by intellectual elements," he said. "For a long time I wanted to make it a little less intellectual and have more emotional engagement. You have to remember it was a populous form, like the bandstand of its time."

He said of the Met's decision to pull out: "When I started writing the opera it was in French and it takes place in Paris. It made sense – I was brought up in Montreal and I can speak French. The music started to reflect the language. But the Met wanted to commission an American work."

Manchester's Bridgewater Hall will play host to two local heroes – Bury's Elbow and Britain's oldest professional symphony orchestra, the Hallé, performing songs from the band's back catalogue. Elbow's Guy Garvey said he was thrilled at the prospect of playing alongside the orchestra to create a "love letter" to the city. "I've been going to the Hallé since I was a kid. They are the original Manchester band, and this is a dream come true," he said.

Fellow Mercury Prize winners Antony and the Johnsons will also be giving their material the full orchestral treatment when they team up with the 35-piece Manchester Camerata to perform songs from their new album, The Crying Light, at the Opera House.

The minimalist Steve Reich is also scheduled to appear alongside Kraftwerk at the Manchester Velodrome for the opening concert. The German electro-pop pioneers are promising a two-hour retrospective from their 40-year career, as well as a new work by Reich. The recently-married Reed returns to the festival, this time with Anderson, for the British premier of The Yellow Pony and other Stories and Songs combining music and tales.

Bringing it closer to home will be the Durutti Column, performing A Paean to Wilson – a tribute to the Factory Records founder, Tony Wilson. The band were the first to sign to the massively influential label and have since gone on to create 30 studio albums. The festival's director, Alex Poots, said: "We've tried to give our artists room to breathe, encouraging them to explore new ways of working within their fields and beyond. Manchester has long thrived on invention, innovation and radical thought, and MIF aspires to be part of that tradition."

The festival runs from 2-19 July - Find out more at http://www.mif.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence