Music: Rousing the Rake in Florence

Ken Russell updates Stravinsky in a splashy opera debut

Ken Russell has never been one to do anything halfway. Propelled by a flamboyant visual imagination, the British director, 54, has shocked audiences with his horrific The Devils, astounded them with his psychedelic imagery for the rock opera Tommy and scandalized them with his racy, irreverent looks at mighty composers, such as Lisztomania.

All this has happened on the screen. Now Russell has turned to the stage for the first time—directing, of all unlikely things, Igor Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress at the 45th Maggio...

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