Nano-opera: Rake’s Progress

Another nano-synopsis, this time for Stravinsky’s “Rake’s Progress,” on a libretto by Auden and some other dude: Boy gets rich, abandons girl, abandons virtue, abandons reality. It’s yet another twist on the Faust tale, where boy sells soul to devil, only this time he finds out the terms of the deal after the fact, and then weasels out of it by getting lucky at cards, but loses his mind, so spurned girl gets to be dumped one more time, this time by the harsh reality that boy is not just a jerk but also bonkers. Yet another misogynist libretto with a likable woman who’s too spineless, stupid, or both to dump the jerk from the outset or at several more intervals in the plot–yeah, right.

And fabulous music. SFOpera’s production was quite wonderful, with lots of movie-like devices and references, goofy stagecraft, wacky costumes, and clever comic touches.