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Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress / Lott, Goeke, Ramey, Elias, van Allan, Haitink, Glyndebourne Opera (2005)

Samuel Ramey , Leo Goeke  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel Ramey, Leo Goeke, Felicity Lott, Richard van Allan, Bernard Haitink
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A16I2S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,586 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress / Lott, Goeke, Ramey, Elias, van Allan, Haitink, Glyndebourne Opera" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Leo Goeke, Felicity Lott, Samuel Ramey, Richard van Allan, and Rosalind Elias star in this 1975 Glyndebourne production of the Stravinsky opera, with Bernard Haitink conducting the London Philharmonic, and sets by David Hockney.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Production Will Likely Never Be Bettered September 14, 2005
This 1975 production from Glyndebourne is one of the most celebrated opera productions of the past thirty years. Primarily this is because of the absolutely fabulous design by David Hockney who took the engravings of Hogarth's series 'The Rake's Progress,' which had inspired the opera in the first place, and turned them into some of the cleverest sets and costumes ever seen. The designs mimic the hatchmarks seen in etchings and are conveyed in only a few basic colors - black, blue, red, green - and appear not only in the backgrounds but also in the materials of the costumes themselves. Some of Hockney's 'Rake' designs can be found on the Internet, if one looks, and can give one an idea of how striking they are.

All that, of course, would be for naught if it weren't for the graceful stage direction by John Cox and the stunning musical direction by Bernard Haitink, leading the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

As for the cast, they are well-nigh perfect. Leo Goeke, a tenor of whom I am not generally fond, is perfect both in looks and sound for the rake of the title, Tom Rakewell. He limns the downward spiral of the young man with simplicity and without a bit of sentimentality. The then-young Felicity Lott, at the beginning of her career, is a simply stunning Anne Trulove. She sings with lyric beauty and her acting, in a fairly one-dimensional part, is believable and touching. Her 'Gently, little boat' brings tears to one's eyes. Samuel Ramey, also at the beginning of his career, is splendid as the efficiently evil Nick Shadow, with enough charm to make the character believable. The card-playing scene in the graveyard between Tom and Nick is paced, sung and acted so credibly that one holds one's breath.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This 1975 Glyndebourn Festival production of The Rake's Progress cannot be surpassed. David Hockney's sets refer back to the 18th Century engravings by Hogarth that inspired Auden and Stravinsky. He magically uses the effect of black and white engraving lines along with brightly colored costumes to achieve a feast for the eyes. Bernard Haitink conducts Stravinsky's score with an ear for accuracy and affect. Perhaps he might have directed with a mite more "snap" to the rhythms, but this is a very minor quibble.

Felicity Lott's Ann Truelove is sweetly innocent yet passionately in love. Her singing is exquisitely produced and nuanced. Goeke's Tom Rakewell's descent into greed, lust, boredom, and failed good intentions is masterfuly portrayed. His voice is light and accurate, just as the score calls for. When his love for Ann saves him from damnation and his association with the devil robs him of his sanity, the scene in Bedlam in which he thinks Ann is Venus and he sings of his love for her thinking he himself is Adonis - well, the heart breaks and breaks again. Samuel Ramey's Nick Shadow is as good as it gets: he is in turn charming, insidious, theatening, seductive, sarcastic and, yes, thoroughly diabolical. Of course, his singing is impeccable. One is reminded of how perfect a Mefistofele he made in Boito's opera of the same name (available on VHS and DVD in a San Francisco Opera production). Rosalind Elias sings and plays Baba the Turk with her usual command of her art; she is simply fabulous, at times hilarious and at times imperious. Richard van Allan brings vocal distinction together with dignity and compassion to the part of Father Truelove. The other singers are excellent in their roles (Mother Goose, Sellem the auctioneer, the warden in Bedlam).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Realization of THE RAKE August 31, 2007
THE RAKE'S PROGRESS, a collaborative effort between composer Igor Stravinsky and poets W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, is one of the operatic milestones of the 20th century. This often misunderstood and even maligned work divided critics when it was premiered in 1951: some thought it a pointless pastiche, others found the work's classical sanity and clarity deeply meaningful and the perfect artistic antidote to the recent World War. The highly literary Auden/Kallman libretto, inspired by moralistic narrative drawings by William Hogarth, is a brilliant and timeless parable, illustrating the moral downfall of a weak, naive young man at the hands of the nihilistic arguments of the Devil. Stravinsky's neoclassical score, by turns acerbic and warmly lyrical, attains in places to a 20th-century approximation of the crystalline purity and perfection of Mozart. Such arias as "Love, too frequently betrayed", "Vary the song, O London", and "No word from Tom"; the trio in Act II Scene 2; and the final scene in the madhouse are among such transcendent musical moments.

Finally (as of 2005), we have the opportunity to enjoy on DVD what is probably the most famous production of the opera, the one designed by David Hockney for the Glyndebourne Festival in 1975 (though it could be 1995, so clear are the picture and sound). The sets of this staging feature flat surfaces and cross-hatching motifs that mimic the famous Hogarth etchings while also underscoring the opera's deliberate artificiality and stylization. The sets and costumes are in several places colorful and beautiful; on the other hand, in the brothel scene and the auction scene Hockney sacrifices beauty to gross realism and/or grotesquerie, making these scenes less enjoyable for me (though by no means un-Hogarthian).
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