Saw The Rake's Progress in SO's new production by David McVicar. Very good - straightforward with no gimmics, 18th century costumes (with only the brothel scene allowed to stray into fantasy), & a wooden structure providing the framework for the set, with flats providing the different scenes & immitating 18th century theatre. Performances good to excellent.
It's an opera I've wanted to see/hear for a long time (ever since I saw images of the Glyndebourne production with Hockney's designs); I thought that musically it might be a bit austere, but I was taken aback at how rich the score is, & how beautiful. Ann's song to Tom at the end was heart-rending.
Unfortunately my partner didn't like it at all.
If you can't get to Glasgow or Edinburgh to see it, it's a co-production with Turin, so you could catch it there
(incidentally, the programme notes said that the UK premmiere was in Edinburgh, with a production by Glyndebourne at the Festival; Scottish Opera's first appearance at the Festival was with another production, & they have done another production of it before the present one)
One of my favourite operas, Flossie; I saw the "Hockney" production at Glyndebourne (Andrew Davis conducting a fizzing performance) in the early '90s, so it's about time I went to another. I totally agree with you: it is a rich score - the way Stravinsky's Music manages to be both detached and touching in the Bedlam scenes is miraculous.
So, is that a trip to Scotland, or to Turin?
Originally Posted by ferneyhoughgeliebte
Although Iit was a straight-forward production, it was full of good touches. For example, Tom's wooing of Ann in the opening scene was in a 'toy' theatre in the middle of the stage; during the breakfast scene with Baba the Turk, Tom eventually threw his coat over her to keep her quiet - she then stayed in the same place, covered by the coat, during the following auction scene.
We are spoilt for choice with DVDs of the Hockney "Rake's Progress" and its back-to-Hogarth cross-hatching. There is a sparking version conducted by Bernard Haitink with Glyndebourne's original cast; Leo Goerke as Tom Rakewell, Felicity Lott as Anne Trulove, Samuel Ramey deliciously slimy as Nick Shadow, the wonderful dark-voiced Richard Van Allan as Trulove (funny to think he began his working life as a policeman), Rosalind Elias Baba the Turk. Both productions are directed stylishly by John Cox. The 1975 picture shows its age with some graininess and the stage in the old Sussex theatre was rather cramped. I saw the 1975 version on the stage of Southampton's Gaumont (now the Mayflower Theatre) which is a massive (largest in the South of England) Milburn Brothers theatre like a slightly bigger London Coliseum where the cast could stretch their legs. Musically there is little between it and its later also Glyndebourne rival except that Haitink brings out the Mozartian humour and horror which Vladimir Jurowski slightly misses. In terms of sound there is very little difference. The young Miah Persson and young Flott are equals in Mozartian beauty.
Topi Lehtipuu is very sweet voiced, rather like Alexander Young in the original La Fenice production: he is far more involving than the reliable Goerke. Matthew Rose is colder and nastier than Ramey as Nick Shadow.
Both productions are excellent. Musically I prefer Haitink and the 1975 version. Visually I prefer 2010.
Last edited by Chris Newman; 23-03-12 at 13:46.
This is a wonderful opera. I saw it at the Coliseum "a few" years ago. Raiding my store of old programmes reveals that "a few years ago" = "sometime in the late 60s".
Raimund Herincx was Shadow and the production, by Glen Byam Shaw, appears to date from 1962. I am beginning to feel old.
I love this opera. I saw it twice in San Francisco -- in 1982 when I first started going (to stand) and when they did it again in 1988 (by which time I managed to purchase a seat). Hockney sets. I was delighted to be able to buy the Glyndebourne version (2010) with these sets because they still are, to me, perfect for the opera. It is also interesting to pull out the old programs and see the variety of advertisements in them -- much less limited to a few pages of luxury goods than now, whether here or London. I did see the recent version in London. After visiting the Hogarth oils at Sir John Sloane's museum, I then went to see it set in southern California, rather than bicycling through California streets to see it set in sets based on Hogarth. I'll stick with the Hockney sets...
This is one of my favorite operas. Sadly a trip to Scotland to see it is not possible presently.
The Hockney production has become definitive, the benchmark by which all others are gauged. The new DVD captures it well (the colour is fabulous). Personally I prefer Jurowski over Haitink precisely because he eschews the Mozartian qualities, bringing out the tartness and astringent character of the score.
Contrasting Jurowski with Stravinsky himself is interesting, the composer obtaining a surprisingly warm string-tone and is more lyrical than Jurowski. Topi Lehtipuu is more convincing than Alexander Young, and the sublime Miah Persson can do no wrong in my book!
That's what I wondered about the SO production, as the Hockney designs are imprinted on my mind (the same for his Magic Flute designs). However, I didn't feel that the designs (by John Macfarlane, also an exhibiting painter & printmaker) for SO were second best, but as good - just different (much more colourful, for a start).