In 1951, in Venice, Igor Stravinsky conducted the premiere of his only full-length opera The Rake’s Progress. He had conceived the idea for this work after visiting the Chicago Art Institute in 1947, where he came upon a series of eight satirical engravings of the same title, created by the English painter and copperplate engraver William Hogarth in 1735. On the recommendation of his neighbour Aldous Huxley, Stravinsky asked W. H. Auden to write an opera libretto for him, which was ready by late February 1948.
Peter Mussbach’s production, recorded for this DVD by Brian Large, was first performed at the 1996 Salzburg Festival. Sylvain Cambreling directed the choir of the Vienna State Opera and the Camerata Academica. The soloists included Jonathan Best (Trulove), Dawn Upshaw (Anne Trulove) and Jerry Hadley (Tom Rakewell).