Rufus Wainwright is currently touring to earn enough money so that he might take some time off to write his second opera.

No, really.

"I need to make a lot of money to be able to stop working for a while and really focus on the bigger theatrical projects," Wainwright said. "That's really time consuming, and you can't go out and work as much."

Wainwright performs Tuesday at the 9:30 Club.

Rufus Wainwright
Where: 9:30 Club, 915 V St. NW
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Info: With Lucy Wainwright Roche; $40;

The singer-songwriter has already penned an opera, "Prima Donna" in 2009.

"I love opera because it has nothing to do with the pop world and the rock 'n' roll industry," Wainwright said, adding that to compose one is a Herculean task. "It's just basically about the performance and the participants and the audience. It's a very encapsulated dream existence."

Wainwright's most recent full-length album was last April's "Out of the Game," recorded with producer Mark Ronson. His seventh album came out two years following the death of his mother.

" 'Out of the Game' was mostly about shedding that for a while and having fun and being silly a little bit, as well as being very romantic," Wainwright, 39, said. "It was a vacation really."

Without a new album to promote, Wainwright promises a varied show that includes favorite songs and whatever might reflect that day. He said that no two shows are the same, and that his sister Lucy Wainwright Roche might join him on stage at the 9:30 Club. She opens his D.C. show.

"I always like to put in a little surprise or something," Wainwright said. "Whether it's my sister or taking off all my clothes, it could be anything."

This tour is strictly solo. Just Rufus Wainwright and a piano or guitar.

"I've done it all my life," Wainwright said of going it alone, without a backing band. "I personally define it as sort of an emblem or badge, let's say, of being a real songwriter. You've got to be able to get up there and do it alone. I've always been proud and feel it's the centerpiece of my artistic life.

"When the storms come and the buildings fall down, I've got to be able to get out there on the corner and sing for my supper."