'I write songs all the time, so it's very possible I'll be singing something new. I have enough material for a 50-foot-long ball gown.'
GIVEN that Rufus Wainwright has scored ballets and operas while setting Shakespeare's sonnets to music, he would probably know how to do a live show.
You can expect something special too, as the Canadian-American singer-songwriter promises in an email interview: "I'm going drama!"
He's joking, of course. He says that his Singapore debut next week at the Timbre Rock & Roots festival will be very much a stripped-down, one-man show. "It's just me, folks - singing and playing piano and guitar," he says, and then cheekily adds: "Not all at once, of course."
With Wainwright's reputation for elaborate orchestration, it's hard to imagine how his aesthetic will translate into an intimate show, but fans who follow his work will know that he has been stripping his work down in recent albums, including his latest, Out Of The Game.
"The shows I do these days are solo, which allow me to dip into various periods of my long and varied career," explains the 39-year-old. He's cagey about what the audience can expect. One can never tell with performers coming here; some stick with their current material, others prefer to make up for all the years they passed over these shores.
Wainwright, however, is determined to be unpredictable: "There will be some Out Of The Game songs, of course, but judging by the state of the day, I'd like to keep things fresh; in other words, it's a surprise.
"I write songs all the time, so it's very possible I'll be singing something new. I have enough material for a 50-foot-long ball gown," he adds with characteristic colour.
What kind of new stuff? Probably nothing aggressive, because fatherhood has changed him. He says: "Since having a child, I've been thinking a lot more about peace, something I know you guys think about all the time."
The jewel in his life is daughter Viva Wainwright Cohen, whom he had with childhood friend Lorca Cohen in 2011, before marrying his theatre-producer boyfriend Jorn Weisbrodt last year, after a three-year engagement.
But peace shouldn't be equated with boredom - not especially with an entertainer like Wainwright, who seems to always find ways to spice life up.
Marriage hasn't changed his larger-than-life perspective.
"I've always gravitated towards the big issues in life. When I was young, it was parties, boys and fashion. Now, it's fatherhood, marriage and family. Believe it or not, it's a lot more fun," he adds.
Wainwright's preoccupation with big issues and, in the case of opera and theatre, big productions, has led critics to accuse him of being pretentious.
He begs to differ. "Pretentiousness to me means pretending - that, I definitely don't do. I just try to create something interesting, as well as beautiful."
To be fair, it's hard to label his next project, Sing Me The Songs, as pretentious: it is a collection of the best of the tribute shows which he and his sister Martha did for their late mother Kate McGarrigle's work.
McGarrigle succumbed to clear-cell sarcoma, a kind of cancer, in 2010, after a four-year battle, during which she set up the Kate McGarrigle Fund to raise awareness of sarcoma. It is an effort Rufus and Martha Wainwright support, so it makes sense for them to continue to pay tribute to their mum.
Rufus Wainwright says the album contains "incredible performances" by him and his sister, and other artists such as Norah Jones and Emmylou Harris. It will be out in the spring on Nonesuch Records.
Wainwright's latest album, Out Of The Game, was critically acclaimed but didn't quite fulfil all his hopes for it.
Unfazed, but philosophical, he says: "I wouldn't mind a blockbuster worldwide hit. That didn't happen. Mind you, Vincent Van Gogh never sold a painting. Things could be worse."
Rufus Wainwright plays at 7.15pm on March 21, the first day of Timbre Rock & Roots, at Fort Canning Green. Tickets at $165 to $280 from Sistic. Visit www.rockandroots.com.sg for more info.