Music by Igor Stravinsky
Libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman
Sung in English with English surtitles

Sunday, March 12, 3:00 pm
Wednesday, March 15, 7:30 pm
Friday, March 17, 7:30 pm
Sunday, March 19, 3:00 pm

With its beautiful arias contrasted with episodes of high drama and low comedy, The Rake’s Progress reveals Stravinsky’s very personal take on the neo-classical style during a turning point in the composer’s career. Now, in this theatrically vivid staging by A.R.T. Resident Director Allegra Libonati, the story of Tom Rakewell is seen through the eyes of Stravinsky himself – and dramatically unfolds as an interpretation of the fantastical inner landscape of the artist in the 20th century.

Dissatisfied with the simple country life, Tom Rakewell abandons his sweetheart to strike a deal with the devil and travels to the big city to embark on a life of reckless pursuit of money, power, fame and pleasure. After a visit to a sordid but enticing brothel, a grotesque marriage, a disastrously failed start-up venture and a game of cards with horrifyingly high stakes, Tom realizes the true nature of the bargain he has struck. Can he turn back the clock or is his fate already sealed? In a surreal battle of ideals, desires and temptation, Stravinsky tips the rake into madness and finds in Tom’s story a path to his own self recreation.

A slam-up of 50s pop icons, the gaudy excesses of Hollywood and the elegant brutality of Hogarth’s 18th Century London, this vision of The Rake’s Progress features Ben Bliss, recipient of Lincoln Center’s 2016 Emerging Artist award, making his BLO debut in the lead role, Kevin Burdette (acclaimed for Leporello in 2015’s Don Giovanni), Anya Matanovic, Heather Johnson, Yury Yanowsky, and a star turn by soprano Jane Eaglen as Mother Goose. MORE

The Rake’s Progress: Program


Conductor David Angus
Stage Director Allegra Libonati
Set Designer Julia Noulin-Mérat
Co-Costume Designers John Conklin & Neil Fortin*
Lighting Designer Mark Stanley
Magic Designer Christopher Rose*
Movement Director Yury Yanowsky
Wig-Makeup Designer Jason Allen
Dramaturg John Conklin
Surtitle Designer Allison Voth
Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra Sandra Kott, Concertmaster
Boston Lyric Opera Chorus Michelle Alexander, Chorusmaster
Rehersal Coach/Accompanist Maja Tremiszewska†*
Assistant Director Anderson Nunnelley†
 Stage Manager Hester Warren-Steijn*

CAST, in order of vocal appearance

Anya Matanovic as Anne Trulove
Ben Bliss* as Tom Rakewell
David Cushing‡ as Trulove
Kevin Burdette as Nick Shadow
Jane Eaglen as Mother Goose
Heather Johnson as Baba the Turk
Jon Jurgens† as Sellem
Simon Dyer† as Keeper of the Madhouse

Yury Yanowsky as Stravinsky

* Boston Lyric Opera Debut
† Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist
‡ Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist Alumni


Performed in two parts with one intermission.
Performance running time is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes

Please note strobe light effects will be used during the performance


Emerson Cutler


Pre-Opera Talks are free to ticketholders and take place one hour before curtain


In the idyllic countryside, Anne Trulove and Tom Rakewell celebrate their love. Anne’s father has found a job for Tom in the city, but Tom longs for an easier path to money. Nick Shadow appears with news that Tom has inherited a fortune from an unknown uncle. They must leave for London and Tom need only pay Shadow for his services after a year and a day. In the wicked city, Shadow introduces Tom to Mother Goose’s brothel. Back in the country, Anne fears the worst and decides that she must rescue Tom. Meanwhile, Tom, in his new London house, is already bored with ordinary pleasures, so Shadow suggests visiting the amazing bearded woman, Baba the Turk. When Anne arrives at Tom’s house, she is horrified to find him married to the hideous Baba. When Tom tires of Baba as well, Shadow appears with one last new idea… a machine that turns stones into bread. Anne again appears to save Tom, but this time his house is for sale and his property for auction. The bankrupt Tom has disappeared with Shadow. Baba urges Anne to follow him. A year and a day from their first meeting, Shadow brings Tom to a graveyard at night. A terrified Tom discovers he must pay not with money but with his soul. But, as Shadow is about to take hold of him, Tom hears Anne’s voice in the distance and his past love is reawakened. Shadow, defeated, disappears into the ground. Tom survives, but he is now mad and is shut up in Bedlam. Anne comes there to comfort him, but there is little to be done. Her father arrives and persuades her to leave Tom to his fate.

Synopsis courtesy of Boosey & Hawkes


The Vision for The Rake’s Progress.

An Inside Look with Stage Director Allegra Libonati.

OUR FIRST 360˚ Video!

Now’s your chance to be in the middle of the action… Watch the male chorus rush to Tom Rakewell and the ladies set the scene for Mother Goose’s brothel. Turn around and watch Stage Director Allegra Libonati direct standing on a chair and Music Director David Angus conduct the singers right beside her.