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Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress ~ Upshaw, Hadley, Ramey, Bumbry; Nagano
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This excellent recording gives Stravinsky's underappreciated Rake's Progress a respectable, if unromantic, rebirth. Tom Rakewell's naïve idiocy is perfectly embodied by Jerry Hadley with crisp diction and arrogant bravado, but he doesn't capture Rakewell's remorse and tender side. Upshaw's Ann Truelove is the epitome of grace, commitment, and effortless singing in this most difficult of roles. Unfortunately, Bumbry's Baba, whose voice is impressively well-suited to the role, is loud and humorless, while the charmless Nick Shadow of Ramey shines during the dramatic moments. Stravinsky's magical woodwind writing is artfully captured by Nagano, who conducts with relentless forward motion, missing all opportunities for occasional romantic indulgence. --Barbara Eisner Bayer
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 5.25 x 5 x 0.5 inches; 5.6 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Erato
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Date First Available : February 10, 2007
- Label : Erato
- ASIN : B000005E43
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: #214,181 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
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Nagano does all he can to emphasize the delightful grotesqueness of Stravinsky's late neoclassic style. The famous Act II, Scene 2 Finale where Baba unveils herself before the crowd comes off so well, you'll want to jump for joy!
Dawn Upshaw gives a spotless performance end-to-end; her voice lends the appropriate innocence to Ann Trulove's character. Hadley's experience in music theater (cf. Bernstein's Candide) is evident in his fumbling, bumbling, somewhat bombastic Tom Rakewell... One surmises his intonation is not perfect, but probably shouldn't be for the part anyhow.
Samuel Ramey can make you laugh and scare the daylights out of you with his deep, brooding Nick Shadow (the best rendering of this character ever, I think). Grace Bumbry is downright disgusting as Baba the Turk, playing up Baba's extravagent excess to a tee.
This is not a 'serious' Rake, but the Rake is not a serious opera... just a seriously good opera. The cast bring the heavy-handed moral and often silly themes to the fore in high theatrical style... as Stravinsky doubtless intended.
This is a great buy! - you won't be disappointed.
For Dawn Upshaw fans, this is not a major interest. Her role is fair and her performances are not up to her quality on her own recordings.
If you must have a complete set of Stravinsky, this is pretty good, but not his best.