The Rake's Progress

Opera

Writers: Igor Stravinsky W.H. Auden William Hogarth

Overview

Show Information

Lyrics
Based On Book By
Category
Opera
Number of Acts
3
First Produced
1951
Genres
Comedy
Settings
Multiple Settings
Time & Place
england, 18th century
Cast Size
medium
Orchestra Size
Large
Dancing
None
Licensor
Ideal for
College/University, Professional Opera
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes young adult, adult, mature adult characters

Synopsis

Tom, a happy go lucky young man, is in love with a young girl, Anne, but Anne’s father, Truelove, has doubts about Tom’s character. Truelove urges Tom to find a “real” job, but Tom is resistant and would rather rely on luck than work to make money. When Tom makes a wish that he had money, a mysterious man, Nick Shadow, appears and tells Tom that an unknown uncle has left him a substantial fortune. Tom is very excited by his luck and heads of to London with Shadow to collect his fortune. London holds many trials and temptations for Tom and he quickly assumes the lifestyle of a rake. He finds himself in brothels, gambling, and even marries Baba the Turk, a bearded show woman. He seems to have lost his way and forgotten Anne, but Anne braves the city to find Tom and try and help him turn his life back around.

Stravinsky’s neo-classical score is a different kind of treat for opera lovers, but a most pleasing one. He plays with the classical style and more modern harmonies, he writes a through-composed opera, but has many elements of the classical style, and he even includes dialogue to keep the lighter feel of an operetta. The Rake’s Progress is a masterpiece by one of the 20th Century’s greatest composers and is a piece that will intrigue you musically, while compelling you to care deeply for its flawed protagonist.

Lead Characters