Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress

by: Alexander Campbell

Despite her father’s reservations, Anne becomes engaged to Tom Rakewell. The mysterious Nick Shadow brings Tom news of a windfall inheritance, offering his services for a year. Shadow introduces Tom to London’s seedier attractions; he marries the bearded Baba-the-Turk despite the reappearance of Anne. Tom tires of Baba and covers her up, before initiating financially ruinous bread-making scams. Baba foils Tom’s attempt to pay his creditors. Shadow claims Tom’s soul but gambles on cards. Recalling Anne’s love for him, Tom wins. Shadow, furious, makes Tom insane. Tom dies of grief in Bedlam, shortly after a consoling visit from faithful Anne.

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