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Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, March 2014

STRAVINSKY, I.: Rake`s Progress (The) (La Monnaie - De Munt, 2007) (NTSC) OA0991D
STRAVINSKY, I.: Rake's Progress (The) (La Monnaie - De Munt, 2007) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7038D

…The Rake comes to life in a way that is not only vivid but impresses the fun side of the opera on you. Tongue-in-cheek it may be, but The Rake’s Progress, seen and heard by this mostly magnificent cast, impresses you as funny and genial tongue-in-cheek, not at all mean-spirited or sarcastic.

And what a cast this is…this cast absolutely captivates and mesmerizes you, combining the very best qualities of good stage acting and vivid vocal characterization. This was the first time I heard tenor Andrew Kennedy, and he quite blew me away. Laura Claycomb might well have been born for this role, so completely does she identify with the character and so magnificently does she sing it. William Shimell is, for me, a perfect Nick Shadow: oily and suggestive, his dark, penetrating baritone perfectly suited for the part, and all the other roles…are handled beautifully…I recommend this as the finest acted performance of the opera…as well as a generally well-sung performance. © 2014 Fanfare Read complete review

Chris Mullins
Opera Today, September 2010

For his sole full-length operatic venture, Igor Stravinsky composed a score to W. H Auden and Chester Kallman’s libretto for The Rake’s Progress that marries his brilliant rhythmic hi-jinks with a neo-classical homage, including set numbers for the characters...The libretto earns points for its clever mutation of the original source material, a series of sketches by Hogarth...Kazushi Ono conducts the La Monnaie forces with the attention to precision the score demands.

La Scena Musicale, October 2009

Canadian director Robert Lepage daringly transfers the Auden/Stravinsky Hogarthian morality play from England of the 1700s to Las Vegas in mid-20th century. A risky proposition, perhaps, but Lepage pulls it off brilliantly, taking liberal swipes at Hollywood, TV land and the perils of overproduction and overconsumption along the way. There is something in the production akin to the genius film director Stanley Kubrick (viz Dr Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange): impeccable logic applied to consummate strangeness. Projection of the tale has the immediacy of today’s bloody awful ‘reality’ TV: repellent but mesmerizing in the spectacle of the corruption of human dignity in pursuit of the glory of exposure on network television. May it be added that first class vocals and a superb account of the musical score enhance the entertainment value of this exceptional production? It should not be missed. The Rake’s Progress is also available on conventional DVD from Opus Arte.

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