Wainwrights Announce A Not So Silent Night

By London_Duncan Last edited 116 months ago
Wainwrights Announce A Not So Silent Night

Picture via atp_tyreseus's Flickr stream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tyreseus/90118744/.
Even in a family bursting with musical talent, Rufus Wainwright stands out for his multi-faceted achievements. He followed 2007's number 2 album "Release the Stars" with acres of colour supplement interviews and much acclaim for his revival of a famous Judy Garland show before taking time out to write an opera which premieres in Manchester in July and still finding time regularly to perform with his relatives the Broadway and folk standards that first established his mother, Kate McGarrigle, and her sister, Anna, as musicians of note. Stateside, the McGarrigle Christmas Show has become a biennial byword for fun and frivolity delivered with great panache, but it's never been seen live over here until this coming December, when Kate, son Rufus and daughter Martha, the latest Wainwright to break into the charts, will anchor "A Not So Silent Night", a one-off performance set for the Royal Albert Hall on the evening of Wednesday, December 9th.

Anyone expecting either Rufus or Martha to break into their greatest hits is in for some disappointment, though, as these shows are not a string of mini-sets by each artiste, but rather a sprawling collaboration featuring an entourage of friends bringing new life to old festive favourites and introducing the audience to genres such as French chansons, bringing some welcome diversity to the well-trodden Yuletide musical landscape.

Douglas Adams's slogan "Expect the unexpected" could have been designed with this show in mind, but as some kind of guideline, last December's outing at New York's Carnegie Hall featured the talents of old stagers such as Lou Reed, Emmylou Harris and Laurie Anderson (remember "O Superman"?) alongside the new generation represented by Teddy Thompson (son of Richard and Linda) and Taylor McFerrin (son of Bobby) in various combinations taking on such material as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and the French "Carol of the Birds".

Other potential guests for this UK outing include Joan Wasser, who was a stalwart backing performer for Rufus before branching out into her own "Joan As Police Woman" project, the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant who co-produced Rufus's last album and maybe even Snow Patrol with whom Martha duetted on "Set the Fire to the Third Bar" from their 2006 "Eyes Open" album.

Unusually for anything Rufus related, tickets have not disappeared almost instantaneously and, at the time of writing, all but the very best seats in the arena are still available at prices from £35 to £70, while a further donation of £500 to the Kate McGarrigle Fund (a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to cancer care and research) would get you "excellent seats for the concert, entry to an intimate post-show cocktail with the performers, and unique gift bags." If you crave some new entertainment to get you in the mood for the Christmas jamboree, we suggest grabbing some seats before the secret is out.

Last Updated 18 May 2009