Igor Stravinsky

The Rake’s Progress

David Hockney’s iconic designs for Stravinsky's The Rakes Progress return to Glyndebourne for the first time in a decade.

Ticket booking for Festival 2020 is currently closed.

We’ve taken the very difficult decision to cancel all Festival performances until Tuesday 14 July. We will be sharing a revised schedule for the remainder of the Festival as soon as possible. Please read our full COVID-19 statement.

For our artists and seasonal staff these cancellations mean the loss of their livelihood. Can you help us to support them and secure Glyndebourne’s long-term financial viability? Donate to our COVID-19 Fund.


A Glyndebourne classic, designed by David Hockney

When the mysterious Nick Shadow appears at his door, Tom Rakewell immediately abandons country life and his sweetheart Anne for the temptations of the city. But London’s glittering promise soon corrodes;  love, money and even sanity slip further and further from Tom’s grasp. Can true love save him, or will the Devil have the last laugh?

Hogarth’s paintings charting one man’s path from pleasure to ruin are the starting point for one of the most dazzlingly original works of the 20th century, like a Mozart opera that has wandered into a musical hall of mirrors – at once elegant and anarchic. Comedy and tragedy are never far apart in this light-footed work that can break your heart with the broadest of smiles.

One of the great Glyndebourne classics, John Cox’s production returns for the first time in a decade, bringing David Hockney’s much-loved designs to a new generation. Jakub Hrůša conducts.

A revival of the Festival 1975 production. Sung in English with English supertitles.



Our highly collectable Festival Programme book features a host of in-depth articles about The Rake’s Progress including:

  • Full biographies of the cast and creative team
  • The classic crosshatched Rake returns home – director’s note from John Cox
  • The Rake – return & renewal – examining whether Stravinsky was subverting traditional operatic forms, paying homage to them or creating something new
  • Tom Rakewell – a figure for our time – making the case for a hero with one foot firmly in our own damaged and complicated age

Each year the Programme Book features exclusive cover art by a leading contemporary artist. Past contributors have included David Hockney, Grayson Perry and Eileen Cooper. The Programme Book costs £20 and can be ordered online or bought on-site at the shop and box office.

Find out more about advertising in the Festival Programme Book

Creative team

Jakub Hrůša

John Cox

David Hockney

Lighting Designer
Robert Bryan

London Philharmonic Orchestra

The Glyndebourne Chorus
Chorus Master Aidan Oliver

Cast includes

Tom Rakewell
Ben Bliss

Nick Shadow
Matthew Rose

Anne Trulove
Louise Alder

Baba the Turk
Jennifer Johnston

Father Trulove
Martin Snell

Mother Goose
Carole Wilson

Alan Oke


Act I

Scene 1: The garden of Trulove’s house in the country; spring

Tom Rakewell, a young and impecunious country gentleman, is in love with Anne Trulove, but her father, the squire, though anxious for their happiness, secretly doubts Tom’s strength of character. His suspicions are confirmed when Tom refuses his offer of steady employment in the city. Tom is content to put his trust in Fortune. A stranger, who announces himself as Nick Shadow, suddenly arrives with the news that an unknown uncle of Tom’s has died and left him a fortune. Tom must go at once to London to wind up his uncle’s estate and Shadow offers himself as Tom’s servant and guide through the intricacies of London life. The question of his salary can be decided in due course – a year and a day hence. Tom shall pay him what his services prove to have been worth. Tom takes leave of Anne and her father and sets off with Shadow to London.

Scene 2: Mother Goose’s brothel, London

Shadow introduces Tom to some of the bawdier attractions of the big city, teaching him a new creed: to be guided by instinct rather than the rules, and to seek pleasure above all things. Tom is schooled in Shadow’s lessons by Mother Goose, but when he struggles to banish his memories of Anne, the older woman decides to take him in hand, and leads him off to introduce him to pleasure.

Scene 3: Trulove’s garden, winter

Months have passed but Anne has heard no news of Tom. She senses that Tom needs her and resolves to go in search of him in London.


Act II

Scene 1: The morning-room of Tom’s house in a London square

Tom is disillusioned by his life in London and seeks vain happiness. Shadow exhorts him to marry Baba the Turk, the new sensation of Giles’ Fair. Only if he acts freely he can be happy. To be free he must defy the tyranny of appetite and conscience – the bearded Baba is the antithesis of appetite and he owes her no duty. She is therefore the perfect agent for his happiness. Tom allows himself to be persuaded by Shadow and sets off to woo and win her as his bride.

Scene 2: The street in front of Tom’s house

Anne finds her way to Tom’s house and sees him arrive home escorting a closed sedan chair. She greets him, but he begs her to return home and forget him. London has no use for her virtue. Anne reaffirms her love for Tom but leaves him, shamed, when she learns that the impatient occupant of the sedan chair is Baba the Turk, now his wife. Tom leads veiled Baba to the house, as the townspeople crowd around the door begging for a glimpse of her.

Scene 3: Tom’s morning-room

Baba sits a breakfast with Tom among the presents given to her on a series of triumphant European tours by her countless admirers. Tom is bored and infuriates her with his indifference. She accuses him of retaining his love for Anne and rages until Tom silences her. Then he relapsed into sleep – the last refuge of the bored. Shadow now prepares to complete Tom’s downfall by adding financial disaster to his moral and domestic ruin. He wheels in a fantastic, bogus machine for converting stones to bread. Tom wakes and tells Shadow that he has been dreaming of just such a machine, believing that it will cure poverty and bring happiness to the wretched. Thus with good deeds, he may again be worthy of Anne’s love. He leaves to devote all his energies to this noble and philanthropic scheme.



Scene 1: Tom’s morning room

Tom’s financial bubble has burst, bringing ruin to himself and countless foolish investors. A crowd of inquisitive townsfolk flocks to attend the auction of his belongings. Anne arrives to ask news of Tom, but no one can tell her where to find him. The auctioneer, Sellem, begins to auction the contents of the house. In due course he offers a mysterious object. It is Baba, who springs to the defence of her belongings, unconscious of the intervening time since Tom silenced her. Tom and Nick are heard singing from the street, mocking Baba. Anne returns at the sound of the voices. Baba tells her that Tom still loves her and that her love may still save him. Anne rushes out to look for Tom, and Baba determines to go back to her true profession, the stage.

Scene 2: A churchyard

A year and a day have passed since Shadow entered Tom’s service. He now claims his wages, Tom’s soul. An open grave is waiting. He first offers Tom a choice of death by poison, steel, rope or gun, and then proposes that they play cards to decide his fate. Shadow attempts to cheat, but memories of Anne inspire Tom to win the game. Shadow is enraged at being outwitted, but though cheated of Tom’s soul, takes his revenge by striking him with insanity.

Scene 3: Bedlam, spring

Tom is confined to Bedlam. He thinks himself to be Adonis, and when Anne comes to visit him, believes that she is Venus, whom he has long been seeking. He asks her forgiveness for so long disdaining her love. She comforts him and sings him to sleep with a lullaby. Her love is unaltered, but realizing that she can no longer help him, she sadly agrees to return home with her father. Tom wakes to find that Venus has gone and his heart breaks.


The principals join in pointing out the moral of the fable, that the Devil finds work for idle hands, and that includes us all.

Supported by
Ms Linda Christmas in memory of her husband John Higgins
and a Syndicate and Circle of Individuals

If you are interested in supporting a future production please contact development@glyndebourne.com or learn more here

Image credits
Main image: Painted collage by Shadric Toop

You might also like

As we deal with the very sad but necessary decision to cance…
See Mozart’s East-meets-West comedy for free online
Glyndebourne remains as committed as ever to finding new way…
A look back at the history of our gardens
American baritone Edward Nelson has been awarded first prize…
Glyndebourne Shop
A beautiful array of gifts for her, for him, for children and for the house and garden. Every purchase supports our work
Become a Member
Enjoy priority booking for the Festival. Find out how you can join as an Associate Member
Leave a lasting legacy
Help ensure Glyndebourne's future for generations to come

Select time