“It’s meant to be a spoof!” My companion, exiting the Met’s Jonathan Miller production of Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress had, as is her wont, hit the nodal crux.

Rake, a brilliant comedia seria (yes that self-contradiction is perfectly possible), is based on the famous 18th century series of eight paintings by William Hogarth, depicting the epic decline and fall of Tom Rakewell, a spendthrift inheritor of his father’s fortune, who comes to London, goes on the lam and loses it all.