Singer Rufus Wainwright has challenged famed songwriter Van Dyke Parks to follow in his footsteps by writing an opera.

Wainwright premiered his first opera, titled Prima Donna, in Manchester, England, in 2009, and he has now urged famed Beach Boys collaborator Parks to do the same.

Wainwright lays down the challenge in a question-and-answer feature for Uncut magazine, writing, "Here's a challenge: Van Dyke, have you written an opera? And if not, I dare you to. It's something I would love to see and hear."

However, Parks, who has worked with Wainwright in the past, isn't keen to follow through with his friend's suggestion.

He replies, "I accept the challenge, but if 'opera' means playing to an audience that represents just one per cent of our population, then I'm not interested. I don't want to play to the tux (sic) set. Opera has a stigma that needs to be dealt with, but I feel I'm getting there."