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The Rake’s Progress
Showing of the Opera from the Aix-en-Provence Festival
Gulbenkian Music has teamed up with the Aix-en-Provence Festival to show, on a large screen, in its Grand Auditorium, four production premieres: Carmen by Bizet, The Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky, Così Fan Tutte by Mozart and Alcina by Händel. With free admission, this initiative seeks to take some of the best production at this prestigious, beyond borders Festival, opening up the music – and opera in particular – to a new public.
Living in the United States following the Second World War, Igor Stravinsky discovered the sequence of works by the British painter William Hogarth entitled The Rake’s Progress. Together, these works describe the dissolute life of a libertine in the Britain of the 18th century, with an abundance of realistic and satirical details. Stravinsky had the idea of turning this into an opera. The libretto by Auden and Kallman weaves a context for the story narrated by Hogarth, adding in the Mephistophelian figure of Nick Shadow, the damaged soul of Tom Rakewell. From the brothel to the public auction of all his goods, Tom ends up among the madmen in the asylum. Based on this argument with its origins in the Enlightenment, Stravinsky also made recourse to the opera codes of the 18th century. However, the musical language, that conveys memories of Mozart, refers also to Rossini, Verdi and Handel, of whom this “exhibits” the aesthetics of musical cubism that loses nothing of its astringencies. A leading man of contemporary theatre, Simon McBurney repaints this “career of the libertine” while Eivind Gullberg Jensen uncovers the multiple layers that Stravinsky set down into the score ranging from ironic distancing to genuine emotion.
Opera in English with English subtitles.
Musical direction Eivind Gullberg Jensen
Scenery Simon McBurney
Dramaturgy Gérard McBurney
Scenography Michael Levine
Wardrobe Christina Cunningham
Lighting design Paul Anderson
Video Will Duke
Scenery/Choreography Assistant Leah Hausman
Ann Trulove Julia Bullock
Tom Rakewell Paul Appleby
Nick Shadow Kyle Ketelsen
Trulove David Pittsinger
Mother Goose Hilary Summers
Baba la Turque (Baba the Turk) Andrew Watts
Sellem Alan Oke
Nick Shadow 2, The Asylum Guard Evan Hughes
Choir English Voices
Orchestra Orchestre de Paris
New production for the Aix-en-Provence Festival 2017
In a co-production with the Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam
In collaboration with Complicite, London