Tom Rakewell’s descent into madness is bitter sweet and could be considered a droll comedy. Pathos contrasts with scenes of bleak humor and unease.
Nick Shadow, a Devil, is Tom’s guide to his undoing, leading him from the care and protection of his fiancé, Ann Trulove, in a sunny springtime idyll down into the underbelly of London where Tom looses his soul to sensual satiation, vice, and a search for insatiable novelty.
We switched the opera’s milieu from the 18th Century, to post World War I and recast Tom as a battle-scarred soldier. The world of our opera was dark and mysterious, punctuated with pools of light that revealed detailed vignettes. This was my second Rake’s Progress and a case study in distilled dramatic essence.
By: Igor Stravinsky & W. H. Auden
Director: Malcolm Fraser
Conductor: Michael Rosewell
Venue: The Royal College of Music, London
Scenic Designer: Thomas C. Umfrid
Lighting by: Simon Opie
Costumes By: Faye Conway