Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Igor Stravinsky - The Rake's Progress / Hendricks Hagegrd Fedderly Essa Pekka Salonen|
Actors: Barbara Hendricks, Hakan Hagegard, Greg Fedderly, Brian Asawa
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
This lavish, cinematic realisation of Stravinsky?s neo-classic masterpiece, performed in English, is filmed both in studio and on location. Barbara Hendricks and Håken Hagegård, as Anne Trulove and Nick Shadow, carry on an... more »
Don't overlook this Rake
Kirk Falconer | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | 03/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I realize I risk stirring some opprobrium in giving this TV film version of Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress my highest possible recommendation - but I do.
A number of critics have disparaged it, quite rightly, for having excised some 20 minutes of Stravinksy's inspired music, and Auden-Kallman's inspired poetry. Some have despised its overuse of unmusical tricks. Still others have said that a truly great alternative is to be found in the video that records the 1975 Glyndebourne production. Again, true.
However, on its own terms, this is a most rewarding treatment of the Rake. Firstly, the sets, sounds, lighting and other cinematic effects conjure up a veritable Hogarthian 18th Century England that serves the story very well. Secondly, the vocal and orchestral performances are first-rate, if not up to the ideal established by Stravinsky himself in his 1964 audio recording. Thirdly, the individual performances of the singing-actors, matched by effective directing and Salonen in the pit, give the dramatic narrative colour, energy and some fresh insights.
I'll close by speaking to this last quality. As Tom, tenor Greg Fedderly looks the part, but he also sings the part, and is quite convincing as the callow youth who falls headlong into final tragedy. Even more affecting is telegenic and opulent voiced soprano Barbara Hendricks' Anne. At several points during the film, the camera lingers on her expressions of joy and sorrow to good effect. Kudos also to baritone Hakan Hagegard as Nick, who is all the more effective in his role as the opera's satanic presence because of his restraint, as this serves the biggests moments, such as in the film's rendering of the churchyard scene. I was also impressed by countertenor Brian Asawa's assumption of Baba the Turk, a performance that helps underscore the nature of complex, seductive London. Also, Asawa very ably communicates both the compassion and vainglory that is bound up in the Baba character.
Taken together, this adds up to a Rake that does the job. While it does not best the alternatives, it tells the story with a proper and sensitive framing of tragiccomic elements. The missing 20 minutes notwithstanding, I thought it terrific. And given that more lovers of culture-with-something-to-say should see this 20th Century operatic masterpiece, I urge others to seek it out.