Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us


Anne Trulove – Hilde Gueden
Baba the Turk – Blanche Thebom
Tom Rakewell – Eugene Conley
Nick Shadow – Mack Harrell
Mother Goose – Martha Lipton
Trulove – Norman Scott
Metropolitan Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Igor Stravinsky

Naxos Historical Operas 8.111266-67 [Recorded 1953 – 146 mins]

A live recording from the La Fenice premiere of the Auden/Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress has been issued on disc, but this is the first studio recording, made just a couple of years later in New York during the preparation of its Metropolitan Opera premiere.

The cast of singers is that chosen for the Met, but for the recording the orchestra is pared down to chamber size and Stravinsky takes the baton, rather than Fritz Reiner, who had been engaged for the performances.

Eugene Conley, one of the Met’s leading lyric tenors of the time, sings Tom Rakewell.      His words are commendably clear, and there is little sign of the strain that is often apparent in this role. By comparison, Mack Harrell’s Nick Shadow lacks something in power and menace.

Hilde Gueden, whilst not quite succeeding in masking her accented English, brings a warmth and brightness of tone which is ideal for the virtuous Anne Trulove, and Blanche Thebom’s Baba the Turk is splendidly assertive.  

However, it is the orchestral playing, obviously benefiting from Stravinsky’s own detailed direction, that is the real delight of this recording, and the sound quality is impressively preserved and restored by Mark Obert-Thorne. 

Serena Fenwick