Why Does Rufus Do Judy Garland?

RUFUS-articleLargeI’m overjoyed to hear that Rufus Wainwright’s opera, “Prima Donna,” will play New York City Opera in 2012. But I can’t say I’m unhappy to have missed Rufe’s concert the other night at Carnegie Hall. He performed material from his upcoming CD, “All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu,” which refers in part to my favorite 20th-century opera, Berg’s “Lulu.” But in the Carnegie second half, Rufe reprised some of the material from the Judy Garland evening he gave at the same venue a few years ago. I’ve listened to that Garland extravaganza, which reminds me for the millionth time that it’s a Mistake for anyone who didn’t start life as Frances Ethel Gumm to sing “The Trolley Song.” There’s a reason why Dorothy Gale’s most famous kid has stayed away from that stuff for most of her career: you simply can’t compete with Judy Garland. Why try?

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