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Rufus Wainwright Plays Davies Hall With SF Symphony

Every once in a while, when the SF Symphony has a break, Davies Hall brings in the unexpected guest performer—from The Roots to Kathy Griffin. This weekend, Rufus Wainwright is on the bill, but—get this—the composer/vocalist/pianist will be performing with the symphony, not instead of them.

No matter your thoughts on classical music, if you've never seen Wainwright live, get thee to the symphony. The 37-year-old has music in his blood. His parents were folk singers, he started playing the piano at age six, and by the time he was 13, he was touring. He's been nominated for endless awards, and has written music for eight critically-acclaimed albums, including soundtracks for movies like Brokeback Mountain, Moulin Rouge!, and Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man. Oh yeah, he also penned his first opera Prima Donna, which debuted last year. In short, the boy's a genius.

Flanked by Milhaud's La Création du monde and Weill's Symphony No. 2, the middle portion of the show features Wainwright's world premiere of Five Shakespeare Sonnets, a musical adaptation of the Bard's work, which was commissioned by the SF Symphony. He started work on the settings in 2009, finishing the orchestral score earlier this year. These are the first performances of this new work. Elton John calls him "the greatest songwriter on the planet" and The New York Times praises him for his genuine originality. Enough said. You want to see this for yourself.

Get tickets to Friday's performance and you'll be treated to an informal Q&A with Rufus Wainwright himself after the show.

$15-$140; Thursday November 11 - Saturday November 13; Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., sfsymphony.org