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The Rake’s Progress


After settling in the United States after World War II, Igor Stravinsky discovered the series of paintings known as A Rake’s Progress by the English painter, William Hogarth. The paintings retrace the dissolute life of a libertine in eighteenth century England in powerfully realistic, satirical detail. Stravinsky decided to turn it into an opera. The libretto by Auden and Kallman embellishes the story narrated by Hogarth by adding the Mephistophelian figure of Nick Shadow, the damned soul of the reprobate Tom Rakewell. Following a journey that takes him from the brothel to the auction house, the libertine finally ends up in the madhouse. Stravinsky adopts the codes of eighteenth century opera to score this enlightenment-era narrative. But the musical language, while evoking the memory of Mozart, also tips a nod to Rossini, Verdi and Handel, whose aesthetic he “unfolds” in a musical cubism that has lost none of its acerbity.

Dutch National Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and The Stanislavsky Theatre in collaboration with Complicité.

© Pascal Victor/ArtComPress

“Full of superb stagecraft & excellent singing, beautiful to behold” Financial Times


Festival d'Aix-en-Provence

Live streamed online 11 July. Available on this website until October 2017.

5 - 18 July 2017
Dutch National Opera 1 - 21 February 2018
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 19 - 25 September 2019
Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre 22 - 24 June 2020


Creative Team
  • Adapted from
    William Hogarth
  • Libretto
    Wystan Hugh Auden, Chester Simon Kallman
  • Conductor
    Eivind Gullberg Jensen
  • Director
    Simon McBurney
  • Dramaturge
    Gerard McBurney
  • Design
    Michael Levine
  • Costume design
    Christina Cunningham
  • Lighting design
    Paul Anderson
  • Video design
    Will Duke
  • Choreographer & associate stage director
    Leah Hausman
  • Assistant stage director
    Josie Daxter
  • Music assistant
    Case Scaglione
  • Pianist & vocal coach
    Alphonse Cemin, Nino Pavlenichvili
  • Stage director second assistant
    Luna Muratti
  • Costumes assistant
    Nathalie Pallandre
  • Set design assistant
    Alejandra Gonzales
  • Video assistant
    Philippine Laureau
  • Anne Trulove
    Julia Bullock
  • Tom Rakewell
    Paul Appleby
  • Nick Shadow
    Kyle Ketelsen
  • Keeper of the Madhouse / Nick Shadow 2
    Evan Hughes
  • Trulove
    David Pittsinger
  • Mother Goose
    Hilary Summers
  • Baba la Turque
    Andrew Watts
  • Sellem
    Alan Oke
  • Actors
    Antony Antunes, Kirsty Arnold, Nichole Bird, Karl Fagerlund Brekke, Andrew Gardiner, Chihiro Kawasaki, Maxime Nourissat, Jami Reid-Quarrell, Gabriella Schmidt, Clemmie Sveaas
  • Chorus
    English Voices
  • Chorus master
    Tim Brown
  • Orchestra
    Orchestre de Paris
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