By Gary Graff for Billboard, 17 March 2016
Most people talk about William Shakespeare in terms of his plays. But Rufus Wainwright would rather have the sonnets.
For proof of why he feels that way, the singer-songwriter offers Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, which comes out April 22 and includes two versions of “A Woman’s Face (Sonnet 20),” which Billboard is premiering exclusively below. “I guess a fair number of people know the sonnets, but the plays are the centerpiece of Shakespeare’s legend,” Wainwright tells Billboard. “But I’ve found in working with the sonnets they even transcend the plays, though to even fathom that is inconceivable since the plays are so amazing. But once you start to get into the sonnets it takes on this timeless, ageless, almost futuristic quality. So much of the language and so much of the sentiment is contemporary — gender and sexuality and love and hate are just so plainly exhibited that it’s really searing.”