The Steinway artist, a self-confessed “diva”, skirted the piano at his Radio National interview.

Canadian singer-songwriter and composer Rufus Wainwright took time out between concerts at the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Arts Centre for an intimate solo appearance in the studio of ABC Radio National.

Although the Steinway artist was seated at a grand piano, and despite the cajoling of The Inside Sleevepresenter Robbie Buck, Wainwright decided at the last minute not to play a single note on the instrument sourced specially for his interview.

The 39-year-old with the velvety tenor voice sheepishly explained that he had used all his “diva-ness” at the Sydney Opera House the night before. Nonetheless, he sang a deeply moving a cappellarendition of Candles,the first song he wrote after his mother died.

Wainwright also spoke about the experience of composing his opera Prima Donna,which premiered in 2009. “My first great love was opera,” he said. “I came to opera when I was 14 years old. It overtook my artistic existence.”

Rufus Wainwright and his band play at the Melbourne Arts Centre on September 15. View event details here.

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