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Rufus Wainwright Releasing Album of Shakespeare's Sonnets

By Philip Trapp on Mar 16, 2016 06:30 PM EDT

Impassioned singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright will be marking the 400th anniversary of legendary playwright William Shakespeare's death this spring with an album of the Bard's sonnets.

Deutsche Grammophon will release Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets April 22, which features a star-studded cast of guests like William Shatner, Florence Welch and Helena Bonham Carter.

Composer Wainwright is no stranger to performing the work of England's national poet. The singer previously adapted three of Shakespeare's sonnets on his 2010 album All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu. According to a press release from Universal Music Classics, as noted by Amazon, the impetus for the interpretations came a year before, when collaborating on a stage production known as Sonnette:

"The seeds for this album were sown back in 2009, when director Robert Wilson asked Rufus to compose music for his Shakespeare's Sonnets production, first staged at the Berliner Ensemble. The San Francisco Symphony subsequently commissioned Rufus to orchestrate five of the sonnets, which they premiered in 2010."

Mr. Wainwright, a fan of the world's most famous tragedian, collaborated on Loves with producer Marius de Vries, a partnership which hasn't reconvened since the artist's intimate Want albums over a decade ago. As the musician described to Exberliner magazine, adapting Shakespeare's poems into music and melodies was not only a labor of love, but a reaffirmation of the playwright's life-altering talent:

"I love his plays. But coming into contact with his sonnets: that really changed my life. And I wouldn't even say those are his best works. And they're just light years ahead -- of anything that's ever happened. And they change constantly. And every line is its own universe. I'd nominate him for best poet ever. Best songs ever! Best collections of poems... EVER!"

Wainwright will be touring the world this spring and summer to support the release, including multiple concert dates in the U.K., Europe and North America. The trek begins April 26 with a show at St. John at Hackney Church in London.

We want to hear from you. Are you excited for Wainwright's new release? Will you listen to his album of Shakespeare's Sonnets, or hold out for a new album of original material? Let us know in the comments section below.

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TagsRufus Wainwright, Shakespeare, William Shakespeare