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Rufus Wainwright on How to Expose People to Opera /

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How can opera thrive in the modern era of instant and free entertainment? The solution, is to expose people when they least expect it. "Yes, we are in a critical time for opera. But I think for about 400 years opera has been at a critical point," mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato said. DiDonato was speaking Wednesday at New York's SubCulture club in a conversation with Rufus Wainwright, a successful pop singer who has turned to writing opera.

Wainwright recalled his five-night sold-out residency in 2011 at Covent Garden in London, saying that 75 percent of the people who attended had never been previously to the opera house. "I believe there is a whole bunch of young people who really don't know what classical is, and they secretly hunger for it," he said.