The Rake’s Progress
Did you know that Auden wrote a libretto for Igor Stravinsky? Or, half a libretto. Chester Kallman wrote the rest. It is called The Rake’s Progress, and has a Peer Gynt-ish plot involving a rake (“an immoral and dissolute person; a libertine”), a self-forsaking lady called Anne Trulove, a servant of the Devil, and a lady with a beard.
Stravinsky invited Auden to write the libretto in 1947, and Auden invited Kallman along for the collaboration on his own initiative – “without troubling to consult Stravinsky,” according to Edward Mendelson.
Here’s one version:
My familiarity with opera is limited to the opera nights at Underwater Pub in Oslo, but I find stuff like this both interesting and enjoyable.
If you don’t have the stamina for the whole thing, here’s a small, beautiful song from the opera’s ending:
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