Baba the Turk

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(Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress). Mez. A bearded lady in a circus, she is helped by Nick Shadow to become Tom Rakewell's wife. She does not reveal her beard until after they are married. Because her non-stop chatter drives him crazy, he repulses her and, furious, she storms around smashing various possessions. To stop her tirade of criticism and complaint in mid-word, he covers her face with a wig. When the wig is removed much later, she continues exactly where she left off. But Baba has a gentler side, and realising Anne is Tom's true love, encourages her to save him, herself returning to continue her circus career. Arias: Come, sweet, come; Scorned! Abused! Neglected! Created (1951) by Jennie Tourel.

Subjects: Opera.

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