'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

02 September 2012

The Rake's Progress

On the 1st of September I attended the opening night of Igor Stravinsky's 'The Rake's Progress" by the students of the Queensland Conservatorium
Conservatorium Theatre/Auditorium.
To a libretto conceived in 1949 by poet W H Auden and Stravinsky, it is based a series of paintings called 'A Rakes Progress' by the 18th century English artist William Hogarth. The canvases were produced in 1732–33, then engraved and published in print form in 1735. The series shows the decline and fall of Tom Rakewell, the spendthrift son and heir of a rich merchant, who comes to London, wastes all his money on luxurious living, prostitution and gambling, and as a consequence is imprisoned in the Fleet Prison and ultimately Bedlam, the Royal Hospital for the mentally ill
In this version the Rake is under the influence of Nick Shadow, a devil of a character.
This wonderful production was so well conceived and there were for me two shining talents. Kang Wang as the brilliant tenor Tom Rakewell and the tall, elegant and impressive baritone Samuel Johnson as the barefoot Nick Shadow. Both these boys should have big careers.
Kang Wang at a masterclass with the world renowned Lisa Gasteen (the great Brunhilda) whom I used to watch when she was also a student some 30 years ago at the conservatorium here in Brisbane. Also a youngish photo of baritone Samuel Johnson who just oozed a wicked personality on the stage. Check out Samuel Johnson Barihunk.
All the cast had a strong presence and there was some very fine chorus work and playing from the student orchestra conducted by the internationally acclaimed Alexander Ingram (everywhere from The Met to Covent Garden and The Bolshoi). We have a magnificent conservatorium of music here in Brisbane and it has produced a stream of internationally acclaimed singers and musicians. Friends not always impressed by Stravinsky where swayed by the overall production, acting and fine very singing.
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