For an opera company to thrive over the course of four decades, being in tune with ongoing trends and the constantly changing digital landscape is crucial. Boston Lyric Opera has established itself as a lead player in the space where the opera world and digital worlds collide. The company has a strong and growing ‘Tweet Seat’ campaign, that generated national coverage including this Wall Street Journal article, in which invited theatergoers are encouraged to live tweet during dress rehearsals. BLO’s latest initiative is a Virtual Reality (VR) video that immerses viewers in a rehearsal for its upcoming production of The Rake’s Progress.
The man to talk to about in the second half of Boston Lyric Opera's 2016/17 Season is David Cushing. The New Hampshire-born bass-baritone is the only soloist who will appear in both of the remaining productions, Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.
After this triumph of neoclassicism, Stravinsky abruptly changed compositional course, subsequently writing in the style of musical serialism (closely associated with that other 20th-century titan of composition, Arnold Schoenberg). The upcoming BLO production will use The Rake’s Progress to explore this pivotal moment in Stravinsky’s career: the creative team has secured permission from the Stravinsky estate to add the non-singing role of Stravinsky to the opera.
In 1947, Stravinsky visited the Art Institute of Chicago and viewed a series of engravings by the 18th-century artist William Hogarth, entitled A Rake’s Progress. These eight scenes, which traced the descent of Tom Rakewell from respectability to debauchery to madness, struck him immediately with their dramatic potential—and thus, the seed was planted for what became his neo-classical operatic triumph, The Rake’s Progress. What were these artworks that so sparked his imagination, and who created them?