Hadrian, the second incursion into the world of opera of musical genius Rufus Wainwright, is coming to the Castell de Peralada Festival. In an interpretation completely different to the one seen in the work’s premiere at Opera Canada in 2018 performed by the Canadian Opera Company, Hadrian comes to Peralada under the stage direction of Jorn Weisbrodt, stripped of scenery and many singers, to make way for a certain radicalisation and the visual emotional expression of the intrinsic dramatic quality inherent to opera. With a narrative built on images by Robert Mapplethorpe, the spectator experiences the tensions and tumults of the characters, at the same time as they learn the story of a defeated emperor who at one time had it all, deprived of the one thing that he truly desired. Wainwright tells a new story to the contemporary audience using melody, harmony, profound emotion, arias and ensemble scenes, through his own instantly recognisable Rufus-Wainwrightian sound and melodies. The libretto, work of celebrated dramatist Daniel MacIvor, lays out the story of the love between Emperor Hadrian and his young lover Antinous, drowned in the river Nile in mysterious circumstances. With the voices of Ainhoa Arteta, Thomas Hampson, Xabier Anduaga, Rubén Amoretti and Vanessa Goikoetxea in the principal roles and the solid musical foundation of the Teatro Real with Scott Dunn on the podium, this universal, inclusive love story is coming to Peralada.
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Artistic details

Opera in four acts

Music by Rufus Wainwright (1973)

Libretto by Daniel MacIvor

With the special collaboration of the Mapplethorpe Foundation

Premiered at the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto, 13 october 2018

Premieres at the Festival Castell de Peralada, 29 july 2022

Opera concert staging 




Musical direction, Scott Dunn

Images, Robert Mapplethorpe

Stage direction,  Jorn Weisbrodt

Lights designer, John Torres

Project designer, Michael Worthington

Asistant project designer, Cory Siefker

Projection programmer, James Pomichter

Chorus conductor, Andrés Máspero

Coro y Orquesta titulares del Teatro Real



Hadrian, Thomas Hampson

Plotina,  Ainhoa Arteta

Antinous,  Xabier Anduaga

Turbo, Rubén Amoretti

Sabina, Vanessa Goikoetxea

Trajan, Alejandro del Cerro

Fabius, Vicenç Esteve

Hermogenes, Gregory Dahl

First Senador, Pablo García-López

Second Senador, Josep-Ramón Olivé

Third Senador, David Lagares

Lavia, Berna Perles

Dinarchus, Albert Casals


With support from: 

Ann Ziff

Melony and Adam Lewis

SHS Foundation

Anonymous Donor