Dutch National Opera presents

The Rake’s Progress Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)

Tickets sold


Duration 2:55

Breaks 1

By Igor Stravinsky

Language English

Surtitles Dutch and English


Igor Stravinsky
An opera in three acts
Libretto by Wystan Hugh Auden and Chester Kallman
World premiere 11 September 1951, Teatro La Fenice, Venice


New production for Dutch National Opera
Premiere 1 February 2018
Co-production with Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre, Moscow and Lyric Opera of Chicago

This is the fourth time in its history that Dutch National Opera is presenting a production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. Following the impressive series of Rakes by David Pountney, David Alden and Peter Sellars, this production is directed by the equally renowned Simon McBurney.

In short

The Rake’s Progress continues to appeal because of the music, which is a highlight of Stravinsky’s neoclassical period, and the libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman. Although the Faustian theme is serious, as is the conflict of wealth and status with personal happiness, there is no lack of humour in The Rake’s Progress. The hilarious scenes with Baba the Turk, the bearded woman, are particularly famous. The tragic ending with Tom Rakewell as a psychiatric patient is followed by the moral of The Rake’s Progress: not every rake is saved by true love.

Watch the trailer!
Take a look behind the scenes
Meet countertenor Andrew Watts

in the press

"Full of superb stagecraft & excellent singing, beautiful to behold."

Financial Times aboutThe Rake's Progress (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2017)

© Monika Rittershaus
Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2017 © Pascal Victor / artcompress
Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2017 © Pascal Victor / artcompress
Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2017 © Pascal Victor / artcompress
Festival d’Aix-en-Provence 2017 © Pascal Victor / artcompress

Simon McBurney


Simon McBurney's work ranges from location theatre to innovative Broadway productions, is often based on classical texts and is always firmly connected with music.

Ivor Bolton


IVOR BOLTON (musical director) had great success for many years as a harpsichord player, before making the transition to conducting.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Ivor Bolton
Stage Director 
Simon McBurney
Set Designer 
Michael Levine
Costume Designer 
Christina Cunningham
Lighting Designer 
Paul Anderson
Video Designer 
Will Duke
Gerard McBurney
Associate Stage Director  
Leah Hausman
Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
Dutch National Opera Chorus
Chorus Master 
Ching-Lien Wu
David Pittsinger
Julia Bullock
Tom Rakewell 
Paul Appleby
Nick Shadow 
Kyle Ketelsen
Mother Goose 
Hilary Summers
Baba the Turk 
Andrew Watts
Alan Oke
Keeper of the Madhouse/Nick Shadow II 
Evan Hughes
Nick Shadow III 
Sander Heutinck


Simon McBurney’s ingenious DNO productions of A Dog’s Heart and Die Zauberflöte arouse high expectations. He will certainly be giving plenty of scope to the ironic and light-hearted aspects of The Rake’s Progress.

Baba will not be sung by a mezzo-soprano, as usual, but by the countertenor Andrew Watts. This lends extra piquancy to the marriage between her and Tom. The roles of Anne Trulove and Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress are sung by Julia Bullock, making her debut with DNO, and Paul Appleby (Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail). Kyle Ketelsen (Carmen) is the fiendish Nick Shadow.

Ivor Bolton is conducting the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. For many years, Bolton was a successful harpsichordist, before making the switch to conducting an extremely varied repertoire. Bolton has been a regular guest with DNO, conducting Così fan tutte, Ercole amante, Deidamia, Armide, Billy Budd, Le nozze di Figaro and Jephtha. Since 2015, Bolton has been music director of the Teatro Real in Madrid, and since the beginning of 2016 he has held the same post with the Sinfonieorchester Basel.

The Rake’s Progress is a coproduction with Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.


Along with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has been the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Opera since 1985, and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Each season, the two orchestras perform the majority of the opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra gives a varied programme of concerts in the Concertgebouw and also performs at other major concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. Marc Albrecht is the principal conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and of Dutch National Opera. In recent seasons, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has had great success with audiences and international press alike, with productions including Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Il Trovatore and Hänsel und Gretel. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marc Albrecht, received an Edison for their recording of the DNO production Der Schatzgräber, in December 2014.

    Mon 18 Dec The Rake's Progress, Financial Times ****

    ‘The Rake’s Progress, Aix-en-Provence Festival — superb stagecraft’

    Mon 18 Dec The Rake's Progress, Bachtrack ****

    ‘McBurney never overplays his hand, though, content at times to allow the music to tell its own tale, most touchingly when Anne cradles Tom in the asylum.’

    Mon 18 Dec The Rake's Progress, Operawire

    ‘Although relatively modern, compared to the classical opera repertoire (it premiered on 11 April 1951), Simon McBurney’s visually striking and infinitely creative staging gives it an additional innovative edge.’