Oedipus Rex / The Rake’s Progress

By Igor Stravinsky

ISBN: 9780714544441

112 pages

RRP: £10.00 £8.00

Stravinsky’s genius for the stage is here represented by two very different works. Oedipus Rex (1927) is the fruit of a collaboration with Jean Cocteau, in which the Sophocles tragedy is pared down to make an opera-oratorio of overwhelming impact. Judith Weir analyses how this is achieved: the Latin text has an immediacy which is sometimes even comic, and the vibrant rhythms are reminiscent of the Italian operatic tradition – explored by David Nice in his analysis of the score. The libretto of The Rake’s Progress (1951) by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman is one of the greatest English opera texts. In a survey of the composition period, Roger Savage examines the contributions of the different collaborators.

Contents: The Person of Fate and the Fate of the Person: ‘Oedipus Rex’, David Nice; ‘Oedipus Rex’: A Personal View, Judith Weir; On an Oratorio, Jean Cocteau; Oedipus Rex: Libretto by Jean Cocteau, translated into Latin by Jean Daniélou; Oedipus Rex: English translation of the narration by e. e. cummings and of the Latin text by Deryck Cooke; Making a Libretto: Three Collaborations over ‘The Rake’s Progress’, Roger Savage; The New and the Classical in ‘The Rake’s Progress’, Brian Trowell; The Rake’s Progress: Libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman

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  • All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.

    Daily Telegraph

  • Brilliantly produced and superb value.

    Sunday Times

  • Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.


Igor Stravinsky

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882–1971) was a Russian-born composer, pianist and conductor. His music was greatly admired for its stylistic diversity.