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1981 production photo from The Rake's Progress

The Rake's Progress 1981

July 25 - August 19, 1981

Hogarth’s engravings come to life…

…in Stravinsky’s witty moral tale of the decline of Tom Rakewell at the hands of Nick Shadow, Baba the Turk and Mother Goose.

Music By
Igor Stravinsky
Libretto By
W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman


Act I

The scene is set in 18th Century England. In the garden of Trulove’s country house, Anne Trulove and Tom Rakewell rejoice in the spring, which seems made for their love, while Anne’s father hopes that his fears about Tom’s future may prove unfounded. As Anne goes into the house, Tom scorns Trulove’s offer of a position, and the father assures Tom that he will not have his daughter marry a lazy man. But Tom, left alone, reveals that he will trust to luck to make his fortune. Just as Tom wishes for money, Nick Shadow appears at the gate with, so he says, good tidings for Tom Rakewell. Tom calls for Anne and her father to hear the good news: he has been left a fortune by an unknown uncle.

All rejoice in Tom’s good luck, but Nick reminds Tom that he must go to London to unravel complications in the inheritance. Tom agrees to go with Nick, retaining Nick for a year and a day, at which point he will reckon up what Nick’s services have been worth. With word of farewell, Tom leaves for London, as Nick turns to the audience: “The progress of a Rake begins.”

The second scene is Mother Goose’s brothel in London, where Nick has brought Tom in search of entertainment. At the company’s request, Tom sings a sad song. His mood is forgotten, however, when Mother Goose claims him for the night. They go off together as the crowd sings a rollicking refrain.

Back at her father’s house, Anne worries over Tom’s silence. When her father calls, she decides she will go in search of Tom, who needs her more than her father.

Act II

In the morning room of Tom’s London house, the young master is at breakfast. Thoroughly disillusioned with city life, he now wishes only for happiness. Nick appears with a new diversion-a circus poster showing Baba the Turk. To be happy and free, Nick points out, Tom must learn to ignore both appetite and conscience. How better than by marrying Baba? Laughing, Tom agrees.

The second scene opens outside Tom’s London house where Anne waits for him. Servants carry a succession of parcels into the house, and a sedan chair arrives. Alighting from it, Tom goes to Anne, but only to beg her to leave the city. A heavily veiled head appears at the window of the chair, and Tom admits it is his wife. Baba complains that she is being kept waiting, and, as Anne leaves, Tom helps his bride from the chair. To the applause of the onlookers, Baba unveils her glorious flowing beard.

In the morning room some time later, Baba chatters on about the possessions with which she has decked the room, while Tom sulks. Finally he repulses her, and she flies into a temper. Tom, losing patience entirely, seizes his wig from its stand and shoves it over her face, extinguishing her effectively.

His misery complete, Tom falls asleep. Nick wheels in a fantastic baroque machine into which he puts first a loaf of bread, then a piece of broken china. He turns the crank, and out comes the bread. Just then, Tom awakens and recounts his dream of a machine which turns stones into bread. Nick points to his creation, and Tom demonstrates it to his own complete satisfaction. Nick encourages him to believe his fortune will be made with this machine.

The next scene is in the same room, but now everything is covered with dust, including Baba, who still reposes under Tom’s wig. Tom is ruined, and his possessions are to be auctioned. Anne enters, looking for Tom, but nobody knows his whereabouts.

Sellem, the auctioneer, puts up the various items for sale, coming at last to an ‘unknown object’, Baba the Turk. The bidding becomes feverish, and Sellem at last snatches off the wig. Baba finishes her interrupted phrase and turns to strike consternation into the bystanders. She comforts Anne, advising her to try to help Tom, and announces her return to the stage.


Tom and Nick are in an ominous church graveyard. It is time for their reckoning-a year and a day have passed-and Nick asks, not for money, but for Tom’s soul. He relents to the extent of playing a game of cards for which the stake is Tom’s soul. When Tom wins, Nick, in a rage, condemns him to insanity, disappearing into a nearby grave as darkness descends.

London’s infamous madhouse – Bedlam. Tom imagines he is Adonis and tells the madmen surrounding him to prepare for his wedding to Venus. Although the madmen deride him, he seems to be proven right when the keeper brings in Anne, who addresses him as Adonis. She sings the excited Tom to sleep and then goes off with her father. Tom wakes raving of his Venus, but when his fellow inmates assure him she was never there. he sinks back on his pallet, dead.

At the end of the opera the five principals step forward and deliverthe epilogue.


Santa Fe Opera

Jon Garrison


Tom Rakewell

Santa Fe Opera

Elizabeth Hynes


Anne Trulove

James Morris headshot

James Morris


Nick Shadow

Santa Fe Opera

Joseph McKee



Santa Fe Opera

Clarity James


Mother Goose

Santa Fe Opera

Rosalind Elias


Baba the Turk

Ragnar Ulfung headshot

Ragnar Ulfung



Santa Fe Opera

Terence Hodges


Keeper of the Madhouse

Santa Fe Opera

Raymond Leppard


(July 25; August 7 - 19)

George Manahan headshot

George Manahan


(July 29) & Chorus Master

Santa Fe Opera

Bliss Hebert


Santa Fe Opera

Allen Charles Klein

Scenic Designer

Costume Designer

Craig Miller headshot

Craig Miller

Lighting Designer