The Rake's Progress is an English opera in three acts and an epilogue by Igor Stravinsky. The libretto was written by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman based loosely on the eight paintings and engravings A Rake's Progress (1733–1735) of William Hogarth.
The story concerns the decline and fall of one Tom Rakewell, who deserts Anne Trulove for the delights of London in the company of Nick Shadow, who turns out to be the Devil. After several misadventures, all initiated by the devious Shadow, Tom ends up in Bedlam. The moral of the tale is: "For idle hearts and hands and minds the Devil finds a work to do."
It was first performed in Venice on September 11th, 1951, with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf premiering the role of Anne Trulove. In 1957, it was a part of the first season of the Santa Fe Opera under the direction of John Crosby, who persuaded the composer to attend rehearsals. Stravinsky returned to the SFO each summer through 1963. For the noteworthy 1975 Glyndebourne Festival Opera production, sets and costumes were designed by David Hockney.
There are a several recordings of the opera, and it is occasionally performed.
Shadow (goading Tom into further ridiculous behavior):