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Overview: Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress at Hackney Empire

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Stravinsky’s 1951 work is loosely based mostly on the eight satirical work by Hogarth, which the composer had a possibility to view on the 1947 Chicago Exhibition. WH Auden and Chester Kallman wrote the libretto, typically thought-about the most effective in English. The music spans immense, brilliant and superior moods in addition to the playful and foolish. Stravinsky’s rating is an excellent means of telling the story of Tom Rakewell, the wastrel inheritor to an incredible fortune endowed with many hereditary privileges – self-restraint not one in every of them. Egged on by mysterious handler Shadow, he strikes to London, disowns his provincial…

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Fortunately, no clear bedrock of an concept or idea onstage can ever cease the wonderful music reducing by way of.

Stravinsky’s 1951 work is loosely based mostly on the eight satirical work by Hogarth, which the composer had a possibility to view on the 1947 Chicago Exhibition. WH Auden and Chester Kallman wrote the libretto, typically thought-about the most effective in English.

The music spans immense, brilliant and superior moods in addition to the playful and foolish. Stravinsky’s rating is an excellent means of telling the story of Tom Rakewell, the wastrel inheritor to an incredible fortune endowed with many hereditary privileges – self-restraint not one in every of them. Egged on by mysterious handler Shadow, he strikes to London, disowns his provincial fiancée, marries a bearded girl, make a poor funding in a bread machine and finally ends up penniless and potty. It’s a reasonably straightforward idea however not a transparent story on this baffling new staging.

Set, staging, lighting, motion director and phantasm director all desire a stir of the pot on this unfocussed manufacturing. Polly Graham has directed the present as a really busy affair; a lot of offing and onning of refrain with no conceivable objective or purpose. Motion is ceaselessly an alternative choice to character growth and a barrier to taking in what’s truly taking place. The lighting typically can’t discover a temper, which hardly helps a confused viewers. For what it’s price, it’s not clear what the motion and phantasm administrators had been on the payroll for.

On opening evening the lead, Frederick Jones is sick however admirably chooses to stroll the half, with Brenton Spiteri singing his function (and really, very properly). The singing is unbelievable, however in all roles bar one a way of character is missing. Lauren Younger as Baba the bearded woman is superb. Regardless of being given little or no to do, she has the viewers consuming out of the palm of her hand.

The one fixed all through the motion, designer April Dalton’s mirrored and slanted stage, is ready with maypoles, chairs or horses on wheels as applicable. The maximalist fashion is suitable for the story, however as it’s offered right here, it’s dated and low-cost. It’s in all probability price a set off warning for the blinding you get on the finish of act three when all the mild bounces off the set. Designer and lights in an newbie misstep.

ETO are touring a small however mighty band. Conductor Jack Sheen, one to be watched, has clearly labored very arduous on this rating. Each sound is brilliant, regardless of the cutting down. I’ve by no means heard this orchestra sound so good – they might give the bigger forces of the ENO a run for his or her cash. Fortunately, no clear bedrock of an concept or idea onstage can ever cease the wonderful music reducing by way of.


Composer: Igor Stravinsky
Libretto: WH Auden and Chester Kallman
Director: Polly Graham
Conductor: Jack Sheen
Designer: April Dalton
Lighting Designer: Ben Ormerod
Motion Director: Alex Gotch
Répétiteur: Frances Hills
Conductor (2 Might, 4 Might): Michael Papadopoulos

The Rake’s Progress continues on tour till 28 Might.

Additional particulars and reserving may be discovered right here.



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