Luminato director Jorn Weisbrodt and singer Rufus Wainwright wed at an intimate garden ceremony in August
It was a whirlwind, cross-continent courtship for singer Rufus Wainwright and artistic director of Toronto’s Luminato arts festival Jorn Weisbrodt. The pair met in Germany and days later shared a cottage in Montauk. Now settled in Toronto (where they live when not vacationing at one of their three other homes across the world), the couple share their story:
The first impression
Jorn: I met Rufus at a concert in Berlin. I wanted to talk to him about doing a project for the Staatsoper in Berlin, which never happened. He is such a compelling performer and stripped during the show!
The first date
Jorn: It was on the beach in Long Island the day after Rufus’s birthday. We kissed at the end of the night after dinner and having gone to a party — very traditional.
Falling in love
Rufus: We were basically together as of the day after my birthday. There were no other men to get rid of, no other men who wanted to get in. We were just too fascinated and comfortable with each other from very early on.
Jorn: We spent two weeks in one of the cottages on Andy Warhol’s old estate in Montauk. Rufus would sing in the morning at the piano, which is pretty intoxicating when you are the only audience member, making breakfast. The voice, the waves, the eggs, the sand — can’t resist it.
Jorn: It was over an Indian meal in London before Rufus’s show at Royal Albert Hall. It could not have been more simple and down to earth but romantic at the same time. Of course, then Rufus repeated it from the stage to give it more pizzazz.
The big day
Rufus: We got married in Montauk just last August in the garden of our house there. We thought it might have been too small for the 250 guests, but we could have actually had twice that many — in the end we’re glad we didn’t. It was glamorous and very bohemian at the same time.
Jorn: Rufus has a daughter with [Leonard Cohen’s daughter] Lorca Cohen. Her name is Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, and she was one of the flower maidens at the wedding. She was only 18 months old at the time, and she took the job seriously and executed it brilliantly. She grows up mainly with her mom and we see her as often as we can.
Their special bond
Rufus: Music has always connected us. We play each other our favourite opera recordings and listen to singers and try to guess who they are all the time. The good thing is that I’m an artist and Jorn works with artists, so we do not compete at all but share almost all the same interests.
Secret to their success
Jorn: We are very intense when we are together, but we are also separate quite a bit as both of us travel a lot. That probably keeps the flame of desire going. But basically you have to ask yourself, “Is this the right person?” So many people stay in relationships and they know instinctively it is not right.
Rufus: Act like the Tina and Ike Turner song “I Can’t Stop Loving You” — but don’t act like Tina and Ike.