Hadrian, Rufus Wainwright's opera closes the season at the Teatro Real


The next 27 of July, the Teatro Real will culminate the current season with the premiere of Hadrian, Canadian-American singer-songwriter's second foray into opera Rufus Wainwright, which will be offered in a semi-staged version starring the baritone Thomas Hampson, who gave life to the emperor Hadrian in the world premiere of the work in Toronto in 2018.

Making use of a musical palette that the author himself defines as "darker and more powerful" than that of his first opera –First woman–, woven with long melodic lines mixed with rich orchestral textures,

Wainwright builds a truly gripping story.

The complex vocal framework will be defended by Thomas Hampson in the title role, Ainhoa ​​Arteta (Plotina), Santiago Ballerini (Antinous), Rubén Amoretti (Turbo) Y Vanessa Goikoetxea (Sabina) among others. With them, he Headlines Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real, under the musical direction of Scott Dunn.

The stunning images of the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and direction of scene Jorn Weisbrodt, complete this interesting show.

Rufus Wainwright thus describes his choice of this historical character for his second opera: “When I first read the fabulous Memoirs of Hadrian, by Marguerite Yourcenar, a novel that inspired at least three generations of gay men, I was instantly struck by the idea of ​​transforming this historical theme into the form of an opera. Both its intimate nature and wild grandeur seemed perfectly suited to what opera does best.: create a hyper-enlightenment of the dark inner lives of people facing formidable outer circumstances and, at the same time, musically explore the surreal dimensions of what lies between them. In my opinion, no other theatrical form portrays

truly life in a myriad of bright vibrant colors just like the opera does, and the story of the Roman emperor Hadrian is a perfectly cut diamond for the task”.

The opera focuses on the emperor's true but troubled love for the beautiful young Antinous.. As the dark specter of monotheism approaches announced by the Jews and early Christians, until destroying the old pagan belief system. Historical research ensures that many parts of Hadrian's life and legacy were destroyed by his detractors and, although he was a productive and just ruler, his massacre of the jews cannot be forgotten, and it is a main point of the work.

A) Yes, Rufus Wainwright concluye: "Almost immediately after Hadrian's death, the patriarchal dictates of humanity took over the narrative, letting the pathetic old remark that “cried like a woman” when Antinous drowned, overshadowed all his achievements.".


Opera in four acts

Music of Rufus Wainwright (1973)

libretto Daniel Mcivor

With the special collaboration of the Mapplethorpe Foundation

Premiered at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto on 13 October 2018

Premiere at the Royal Theater

Opera in semi-staged concert version


Director Musical I Scott Dunn

Images I Robert Mapplethorpe

Stage-manager I Jorn Weisbrodt

lighting designer | John Torres

project designer | Michael Worthington

Project Designer Assistant | Cory Siefker

projection scheduler | James Poichter

Choir director I Andres Maspero

Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real holders
(Coro Intermezzo / Madrid Symphony Orchestra)


Hadrian | Thomas Hampson

Plotina | Ainhoa ​​Arteta

Antinous | Santiago Ballerini

Turbo | Rubén Amoretti

Sabina | Vanessa Goikoetxea

Trajan | Alejandro del Cerro

Fabius | Stephen Vincent

Hermogenes | Gregory Dahl

First Senator | Pablo Garcia-Lopez

second senator | Josep Ramón Olivé

Third Senator | David Lagares

Street | Berna Beads

Dinarchus | Albert Casals

Photography © Javier de Real | Teatro Real