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Rufus Wainwright

WHEN:
WHERE:
COST:
Sunday, December 3, 2017 @ 7:30 pm
Center Theatre
$48 | $58 | $68

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Opening Act: Chicago-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist BONZIE

Rufus Wainwright, one of the great male vocalists, composers, and songwriters of his generation, has released eight studio albums, three DVDs, and three live albums. He has collaborated with a large range of artists, such as Elton John, David Byrne, Mark Ronson, Joni Mitchell and Burt Bacharach. At the age of fourteen he was named Canada’s best young musician and later received the Juno Award for Best Alternative Album. His album Rufus does Judy, recorded at Carnegie Hall in 2006, was nominated for a Grammy.

His acclaimed first opera, Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009 and has since been presented in London, Toronto and New York. In 2010, Wainwright was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony to compose and interpret Five Shakespeare Sonnets, a five-movement song cycle that sets Shakespeare’s Sonnets to orchestra and voice. They have since been performed worldwide by orchestras including the Chicago and Montreal Symphonies.

In 2010, he was the first artist to complete a five-concert residency at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. In September 2014, he had his debut with the London Proms at Royal Albert Hall and performed at the Last Night of the Proms in the Park.

Other achievements include the 2012 world premiere of Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle, the feature length music documentary that captured the May 2011 tribute concert honoring Rufus’ late mother, the legendary Kate McGarrigle. In 2013, he sang for Billy Joel at the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington. In the fall of 2015, Rufus saw the Deutsche Grammophon release of a double CD/vinyl recording of Prima Donna with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Deutsche Grammophon also released an album of Shakespeare Sonnets set to Rufus’ music in April 2016 in celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The Canadian Opera Company commissioned Wainwright’s second opera, about Roman Emperor Hadrian, to premiere in Toronto in the fall of 2018.


Opening Act: Chicago-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist BONZIE

The second album from Chicago-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist BONZIE, Zone on Nine pulls off the sublime feat of feeling both intensely intimate and otherworldly in scope. “All of my songs basically start as a conversation I’m having with myself alone in my room,” says 21-year-old Nina Ferraro, who’s created under the moniker of BONZIE since age 17. “It’s how I process and interpret things that have happened to me or in life in general; it’s my way of trying to understand the world.”

Throughout Zone on Nine, Ferraro eschews the confessional singer-songwriter approach and claims her role as a fiercely honest observer and commentator who delivers her lyrics with powerful abandon. That self-possessed artistry has earned acclaim from the likes of Spin, Vogue, and Paste, as well as led to praise in the pages of the New York Times (“Delicacy and drama, surrender and anger, made a riveting combination when BONZIE performed,” wrote chief popular-music critic Jon Pareles of a SXSW performance). At the same time, Zone on Nine finds BONZIE greatly expanding her sonic palette—formed from inspirations as eclectic as Tchaikovsky, Gil Scott-Heron, Judee Sill, and the score to Disney’s Mulan—and creating a more intricately composed take on surrealist pop.

In carving out that sound, Ferraro traveled to L.A. and England to record, discovering that each surrounding lent a strange new dimension to Zone on Nine. “Being in those different environments let me take my music to places it’d never been before,” she says. “It helped bring different colors and contrast to the record, which is so important to me. I love the contrast between chaos and stillness, and how those two things can exist in the same place.”

In tracking the path from her first time songwriting to the continent-crossing production of Zone on Nine, Ferraro notes that a certain sense of purpose has endured in her artistry. “I’m always open to taking the song wherever it wants to go—more like I’m a vessel for the song itself, rather than a person who’s actually making the song,” she says. And with Zone on Nine, in all its unbridled grandeur, each listen illuminates the unending wonder that’s sparked so much of her songwriting. “I think we’re here to experience things and express our experience, and to notice and enjoy how we each have our own different perspective,” says Ferraro. “I feel obligated to participate in life that way, on a very visceral level. To me there’s a rhythm that already exists in the world, and I want to be a part of that.”