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William R. Braun
Opera News, May 2012

STRAVINSKY, I.: Rake’s Progress (The) (Glyndebourne, 2010) (NTSC) OA1062D
STRAVINSKY, I.: Rake’s Progress (The) (Glyndebourne, 2010) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7094D

When artist David Hockney (in his first designs for the opera stage) and director John Cox mounted a production of The Rake’s Progress for Glyndebourne, in 1975, the result was one of the most famous creations in the history of the art form. Hockney and Cox returned to the company for this 2010 revival, which has been astutely filmed by François Roussillon, and even for the home viewer, the wit, inventiveness and beauty of the production remain intact. 

Hockney’s Rake designs were seen in other houses, but they were not always so attentively lit as they are in this performance.

The longest principal role is taken by harpsichordist Helen Collyer, who plays with real wit and character. She is given pride of place in this review, because nowhere on the packaging or in the twenty-page booklet can her name be found. As Tom, Topi Lehtipuu gives an unusual reading of his role.

Miah Persson’s Anne also has a transformation. In her aria, she sings incisively, with clarity and bright tones, her choppy music completely under control. By the final scene, shocked at Tom’s irretrievable madness, she is singing with beauty and great reserves of breath. Matthew Rose must be one of the youngest Shadows in history. He and Cox clearly are interested in the “progress” part of the opera’s title, with Shadow continually monitoring everything Tom does. Cox gives Shadow a little gesture at the end of each scene, reminding us that he pulls the strings. 

As a whole, the production does great honor to the spirit of Stravinsky’s masterpiece. This includes the conducting of Vladimir Jurowski, whose orchestral contribution is light and fleet… © 2012 Opera News Read complete review

William Hedley
MusicWeb International, April 2012

The origins are to be found in the series of Hogarth paintings entitled A Rake’s Progress. In an interview on the DVD, David Hockney confirms that his stage designs, based almost entirely on parallel and crossing straight lines, were inspired by techniques used when Hogarth’s paintings were later engraved and published in book form. This hatching produces a visual texture at once rich, varied and deeply evocative. And it is everywhere, on the backs of the cards used to determine Tom’s fate near the end of the opera, even on the shoehorn Nick hands to him as he helps him get ready to go out in pursuit of a wife. Such attention is only one example of why opera is such an expensive art form. There is spontaneous applause as the curtain rises on the auction scene, where everything is in shades of grey. The only colour to be seen is in the costumes of the auctioneer, and later Baba, when she emerges. I feel sure that at the end of the run Miah Persson will have hidden the dress and cloak she wears for much of the opera in her suitcase, so beautiful is it. The production is directed by John Cox. He has created a marvellous stage experience, full of touching and sometimes near-hilarious detail.

Nick Shadow speaks directly to the audience in Act 2, which justifies his winking and gurning at them at various points throughout, usually to show what a dupe his master is, and always to delicious comic effect. Matthew Rose plays the part to the hilt, making clear from his very first scene that Tom is a pushover and that Anne is where the danger lies. He manages adeptly the comic aspects of the role, at least as far as the graveyard scene, when everything changes. It’s possible to imagine a darker voice for Shadow, but I find his assumption totally convincing. Topi Lehtipuu as Tom is very fine too. He captures very well indeed Tom’s love for Anne, which is genuine and will be his salvation, but which he abandons by weakness of will. Miah Persson is adorable as Anne. She brings out beautifully the vulnerability of the character, but crucially she has brilliantly understood the steely determination present in Anne’s music, and acts it out, both physically and vocally, to perfection. The smaller roles are beautifully taken, and the chorus sings and acts splendidly. Time and again I was struck, as never before, by the sheer beauty of the sound of this work, and the orchestra plays magnificently under the inspiring direction of Vladimir Jurowski.

The film has been…sensitively done, remaining faithful to the action throughout.

…there is no question, this life-enhancing DVD from Glyndebourne is truly special and not to be missed. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Charles T. Downey
The Classical Review, April 2012

STRAVINSKY, I.: Rake’s Progress (The) (Glyndebourne, 2010) (NTSC) OA1062D
STRAVINSKY, I.: Rake’s Progress (The) (Glyndebourne, 2010) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7094D

this performance boasts excellent singing from the three leads. Miah Persson is a lovely, Swedish-blond Anne Trulove, with angelic high notes and sure intonation to handle the dissonances.

Persson is matched by an equally naive, charming performance from the Australian-born Finnish tenor Topi Lehtipuu. Lehtipuu gets all of Tom’s wide-eyed innocence, vocally and physically, and is matched by the snarling, snide Shadow of Matthew Rose.

Vladimir Jurowski gives a fierce edge of precision and bite in the way he leads the players of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in the pit. © 2012 The Classical Review Read complete review

Christopher Dingle
BBC Music Magazine, January 2012

This is a production full of colour and light, and brimming with wit © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

Robert Benson, January 2012

STRAVINSKY, I.: Rake’s Progress (The) (Glyndebourne, 2010) (NTSC) OA1062D
STRAVINSKY, I.: Rake’s Progress (The) (Glyndebourne, 2010) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7094D

Glyndebourne…is a brilliant success, a spectacular performance with stunning sets and lighting…it is a visual knock-out, with effective surround sound. This is a terrific recording in every way. © 2012 Read complete review

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