The Royal Swedish Opera’s Revival of Rufus Wainwright’s ‘Prima Donna’ Opens October 10

By Chris Ruel

The Royal Swedish Opera opens a new production of acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s “Prima Donna” on October 10, running through November 14.

“Prima Donna’s” libretto is Wainwright’s, written in collaboration with Bernadette Colomine.

“Prima Donna,” billed as a tribute to the art of Romantic opera, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in 2009. “Prima Donna” relates the story of a 1970s-era faded diva with a self-destructive streak who, after years of seclusion, decides to re-enter the opera world at the urging of her trusty servants. Can a diva who’s well past her prime stage a comeback and turn back the clock to a more glamorous time? A singer/journalist friend with romantic feelings toward the protagonist encourages the diva, giving her hope that all’s not lost.

Soprano Elin Rombo sings the title role of Régine Saint Laurent with baritone Jeremy Carpenter as Philippe, her butler, soprano Beate Mordal as the diva’s maid, and tenor Conny Thimander as André the journalist.

Mårtin Forslund directs the new production with design by Sabine Theunissen. In response to COVID-19, Wainwright and conductor Joyce Ogren reduced the orchestra to 28 players.