In his Poetics of Music, Igor Stravinsky wondered how, for a composer, past and present, and tradition and renewal relate to each other. He came to the conclusion that we renew a tradition in order to make something new. And that is what he achieved in The Rake’s Progress, when he looked back to 18th-century opera as he composed a 20th-century ‘number opera’. William Hogarth’s moralising and satirical engravings provided him and his librettists with inspiration for the adventures of Tom Rakewell, who squandered his fortune – and trifled with love – in a riotous life. The Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan, who has made unforgettable debuts in several roles at La Monnaie, is emerging increasingly as a complete artist. In the 2018-19 international tour of this semi-staged Rake’s Progress with the LUDWIG collective, she will be making her debut as… an operatic conductor.