The pop star Rufus Wainwright has worn his passion for opera on his sleeve for as long as anyone can remember. Yet was anyone fooled when he turned up for the premiere of his feeble maiden opera, Prima Donna (2009), done up as Giuseppe Verdi? Nine years later, the curtain rose on Hadrian, Wainwright’s second operatic effort, this one dramatizing the love life of the third of Rome’s so-called Five Good Emperors. An improvement, but “still frustrating” clucked The New York Times. On the plus side, the love scene between the veteran barihunk Thomas Hampson, as Hadrian, and the tenor Isaiah Bell as Antinous, the comely youth frequently immortalized in marble, was said to leave little to the imagination. The video of the original production, now on view for the first time, gives fans all over the world their chance to see, hear, and judge for ourselves. —M.G.
Canadian Opera Company 145 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 4G1, Canada Get Directions »