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New edition of Stravinsky’s largest work, his only full-length work for the theatre, and his first major work in English. It also represents the culmination of his neoclassical years, after which he started to rethink his musical language. Inspired by an exhibition in Chicago in 1947 of a series of Hogarth prints, the depiction of the ironic progress of the spendthrift heir of a miser from wealth via debt to madness and death is, in essence, retained in the opera. Auden and Kallman's 'fable' wittily grafts onto Hogarth’s quest narrative aspects of, among other sources, Classical pastoral, the Faust legend, fairy tale, circus, the Bible and opera in many different manifestations. This is brilliantly matched by Stravinsky’s music, which takes as its source the whole of operatic history from Monteverdi to Verdi via Rossini and Donizetti and large doses of Mozart, yet it is neither parody nor pastiche. The Rake’s Progress can be appreciated on many levels, which might explain why it is still one of only a handful of 20th-century operas never to have been out of the repertoire.

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