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Rufus Wainwright interview / WNYC - Soundcheck

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Soundcheck goes to the opera, with a distinguished - if surprising - guide. Pop star, pianist, and composer Rufus Wainwright grew up in one of the grand families of contemporary music. His mother, the late Kate McGarrigle, was a celebrated songwriter who performed with her sister Anna. But it wasn't folk music she used to rouse Rufus in the mornings: it was Bach. (As for dad, singer Loudon Wainwright III? Says Rufus: "He likes baseball.") Fast forward a few decades, and Rufus has followed in both parents' footsteps with a major pop career. And in 2009, Rufus also wrote his very first opera, "Prima Donna" (the recording of which has just been released on Deutsche Grammophon). It's a day in the life of a graying operatic diva who lost her voice mid-performance and is now left to reflect on her halcyon days. It's a grand story, told entirely in French, and moves with unmistakably Wainwright melody. Rufus talks to host John Schaefer about his plans (or not) to ever actually perform in an opera, and explains why his new recording was crowd-funded.