English National Opera Guides are ideal companions to the opera. They provide stimulating introductory articles together with the complete text of each opera in English and the original. 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 operaoratorio 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.
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (1882 - 1971) was a Russian-born, naturalized French, later naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor. His music was greatly admired for its stylistic diversity.
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