Igor Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" returns to the Berlin stage in a production directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski. Stravinsky completed the work in 1951 and it premiered that year in the Venetian Teatro La Fenice.
"The Rake's Progress" in Berlin Staatsoper, photo: Ruth Waltz, www.staatsoper-berlin.de
Igor Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress" returns to the Berlin stage in a production directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski
Stravinsky completed the work in 1951 and it premiered that year in the Venetian Teatro La Fenice. The libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman tells the moralising tale of Tom Rakewell, who abandons his fiancee and flees to London, where he loses his entire fortune, marries a bearded lady, sells his soul to the devil and finally, loses his senses and gets locked up in an insane asylum. Stravinsky himself was inspired by a series of eight paintings and engravings by William Hogarth.
The work is revived by Krzysztof Warlikowski, one of the most interesting of Polish forty-something stage directors who originally invested his time in studies of history, philosophy and theatre theory and trained as a director by assisting some of the world's greatest masters of theatre (Krystian Lupa, Peter Brook, Ingmar Bergman and Giorgio Strehler), is often referred to as the radical rejuvenator of the Polish theatre. Today, he is sought after by the world's best opera companies based in London, Paris, Milan and Brussels.
This is Warlikowski's first project at the Berlin State Opera (the company has temporarily left its original premises: the Unter den Linden building, steeped in tradition, is currently undergoing renovation, and performances are held at the Schillertheater which is located in a completely different area of the city); it is his take on Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, according to the director, an unusual opera - a modern opera, and yet very classical at the same time; Russian but also very American. It is set in the post-war period and yet it feels as if there had not been a war at all. A powerful story that is, at the same time, a metaphor and a myth, one of the most tempting operas (says Krzysztof Warlikowski).
Stravinsky's 1951 opera was inspired by the Rake's Progress series of eight paintings and engravings by William Hogarth which the composer saw at a Chicago art show in 1947. Both Hogarth and Stravinsky follow the personality disintegration of a young and successful man who ends his days in Bedlam. The new production is a collaboration with Ingo Metzmacher, the best conductor of the previous theatre season, according to the international critic survey conducted by the Opernwelt Magazine. The cast was selected by Warlikowski and Metzmacher jointly: it is extremely rare in the opera world for the director to have a say in the matter.
Set design and costumes are by Małgorzata Szczęśniak and music has been arranged by Ingo Metzmacher.
Starring Andreas Bauer (Trulove), Anna Prohaska (Anne), Florian Hoffmann (Tom Rakewell), Gidon Saks (Nick Shadow), Birgit Remmert (Mother Goose).
- The Rake's Progress by Igor Stravinsky: an opera in three acts with epilogue, premieres December 10, 2010, with repeat performances on December 12, 15, 18, 20, 23, 25 & 29.
Source: www.nowyteatr.org, www.staatsoper-berlin.de, www.anothertravelguide.com