Rake´s Progress at Malmö Opera – synopsis

Rake´s Progress at Malmö Opera - synopsis

Rake´s Progress at Malmö Opera – synopsis

Composer and librettist

Music: Igor Stravinsky|Lyrics: after a fabel by W.H Auden and Chester Kallman.




First performance: 11 september 1951 på Teatro de La Fenice i Venedig. Seen the performance att Malmö Opera, Malmoe, Sweden

Act l

Tom Rakewell is courting Anne Trulove outside her father´s House in the country. Truelove has doubts about the proposed marriage, but finally gives his blessing. Tom declines his offer of employment in a bank – he wants to live a more exciting life.

A stranger called Nick Shadow arrives to announce that Tom has inherited a large sum of money.He also offers his services. Tom wonders how much he should pay him, and Nick replies that they will decide what is reasonable after a year and a day. They leave for London.

Nick introduces Tom to the temptations of the City at Mother Goose´s brotheli. Tom is thinking about Anne and their love. Mother Goose takes care of the young man herself.

Anne has not heard from Tom since he left. She is af raid he has forgotten her, but decides to seek him up in London.

Act ll

Tom has got everything he can wish for, but nothing pleases him. He is longing for true love and happiness. Nick comes up with the brilliant idea that Tom should marry Baba, the Turkish bearded lady who is one of Londons great attractions.

Just as Anne has found Tom’s house, the newlyweds arrive. When Anne learns that Tom has betrayed their love and married Baba, she runs away.

Baba has moved in, but Tom is sad and does not care about her. She has a fit of rage and jealousy.Tom eventually stops her. Tom falls asleep and dreams about a machine that can turn stone into bread. When he awakens, Nick arrives with the machine. Tom is overjoyed – now he can save the world from starvation.


The machine project has ruined Tom and he is supposed to have fled the country. All his assets are being auctioned off. Baba makes peace with Anne and returns to the stage where she belongs.

A year and a day have passed. It is time for Tom to pay his due. Nick turns out to be the Devil himelf, and the prize for his services is Tom’s soul. But Nick gives Tom one last chance; if he can beat Nick in a game of cards he is free. Thanks to Anne’s true love, Tom wins the game. Defeated, Nick sinks into the ground, condemning Tom to insanity as he goes.

Tom believes himself to be Adonis waiting for his Venus. Anne comes to visit Tom at the madhouse. He experiences a brief moment of happiness before he falls asleep in her arms. Anne understands there is nothing she can do and leaves him.

Compiled by Mogens H Andersson


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