Friday, April 29, 2016

Pittsburgh Opera's "The Rake's Progress" Opens Saturday for a Four Performance Run

Anne Trulove (Layla Claire) shares a tender moment with her beau Tom Rakewell (Alek Shrader) Photo Credit: David Bachman Photography

Pittsburgh Opera concludes its 77th season with the Pittsburgh premiere of the David Hockney production of Stravinsky’s THE RAKE’S PROGRESS. Performances are on April 30 and May 3,  6, and 8 at the Benedum Center in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The plot follows Tom Rakewell, who squanders his large inheritance on women, drinking and gambling.

Tom’s journey from fortunate heir, to gambler, to inmate at Bedlam is based on a famous series of engravings by William Hogarth from 1732.

The opera itself is by Igor Stravinsky, who was inspired by Hogarth’s engravings. It premiered in 1951. The libretto was written by poets W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman.

Pittsburgh Opera is performing the David Hockney production, with jaw-dropping sets, props, wigs and costumes designed by “the most influential British artist of all time”. Hockney mimics the feel of  Hogarth’s original engravings, using black cross hatching and the three colors printers used in Hogarth’s time: red, blue and green.

The performances are essentially a living David Hockney art installation set to Stravinsky’s beautiful neo-classical music.
• Sung in the original English with projected English titles

THE RAKE’S PROGRESS features a superlative cast, including:
Alek Shrader as Tom Rakewell Photo Credit: David Bachman Photography

 Alek Shrader (Tom Rakewell), a past winner of the Metropolitan Opera National
Council Auditions who has had a meteoric rise in the opera world. Alek has
performed around the globe to great acclaim, and is making his Pittsburgh Opera
 Layla Claire (the virtuous Anne Trulove), who has received rave reviews by The
New York Times and others for her performance in this role at the Metropolitan
Opera. Her most recent Pittsburgh Opera appearance was in 2013, singing the role
of Pamina in The Magic Flute.
 David Pittsinger, who sings the role of the sinister Nick Shadow, makes his 13th
appearance at Pittsburgh Opera, but first since 2008. Mr. Pittsinger is renowned for
his Helen Hayes Award-nominated performance as Emile de Becque in Rodgers &
Hammerstein’s South Pacific at the Kennedy Center. He famously performed in
both The Met’s Hamlet and on Broadway in South Pacific on the same day.
On stage April 30, May 3, 6 and 8, THE RAKE’S PROGRESS is a powerful way to end the
opera season. Tickets start at just $12. For reservations, phone 412-456-666 or visit website

Layla Claire as Anne Trulove Photo Credit David Bachman Photography

Three facts about THE RAKE’S PROGRESS
1. An amazing assemblage of 20th century cultural titans had their hands in this opera:
 Music by Igor Stravinsky- “one of music’s truly epochal innovators”
 Libretto (screenplay) by Chester Kallman and W. H. Auden, “arguably the 20th
century’s greatest poet”
 Sets and costumes designed by David Hockney, “the most influential British
artist of all time”
2. You might expect the owner of the largest David Hockney collection in the greater
Pittsburgh area to be one of the regions’ many fine museums, or perhaps a wealthy
private collector. It’s not. Pittsburgh Opera is the fortunate owner of Mr. Hockney’s
THE RAKE’S PROGRESS production, which features hundreds of meticulously
designed period costumes, amazing wigs, sets and props.
3. David Hockney was a contemporary of Andy Warhol in the Pop Art movement. Andy
interviewed David for Andy Warhol’s T.V in 1981. The Andy Warhol Museum is
generously loaning Pittsburgh Opera that interview footage, which will be played in
the Benedum Center lobby prior to each performance of THE RAKE’S PROGRESS.

  • Anne Trulove (Layla Claire) and Nick Shadow (David Pittsinger) compete for Tom Rakewell’s (Alek Shrader) heart and soul Photo Credit: David Bachman Photography

No comments:

Post a Comment