Brussels Philharmonic | Wainwright / Mapplethorpe

Wainwright / Mapplethorpe

A Symphonic Visual Concert

Rufus Wainwright composed the opera Hadrian in 2018. Hadrian unfolds the story of the last day of the Roman Emperor who seems best known for the building of the wall in Britannia that bears his name, and for his conflict with Judea against the rise of monotheism. But he is mostly unknown for what might be his greatest legacy: Hadrian lived openly as a homosexual and nurtured a deep, unwavering love for Antinoos, a Greek boy of extraordinary beauty.

Two worlds meet on stage: Wainwright's opera and Mapplethorpe's photography. "On closer look the crossroads between them, the connections of their themes, the subversion of classical forms through injection of a different form of sexuality become evident," says Jorn Weisbrodt.

Weisbrodt examines the relationship between the narrative and the photography:

"Opera is not about knowledge, about right or wrong, about progress, or learning but it is about suffering, torment, about realizing what is the one and only thing worth dying for. Mapplethorpe expresses these fundamental emotional states of our human existence with what is in front of his eyes through his unapologetical homosexual gaze."

Read the full article, and take a deep dive into the opera with director Jorn Weisbrodt.

[read the article]
[read the composer's note]
[concert page]


Robert Mapplethorpe, Ken Moody, 1984

All Mapplethorpe Works © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation