Boris Godunov is Modest Mussorgsky’s only completed opera and it considered one of the greatest bass-baritone roles in the opera repertoire . The psychological aspects of the role makes great demands on the singer-actor who must show power and vunerability.
Boris Godunov is based on Pushkin’s Shakespeare-inspired play about the 16th-century tsar. In 1869 the composer submitted the finished opera to the Imperial Theatres Directorate – who rejected it. Mussorgsky revised the opera but added considerably to the previous version. Acclaimed director Richard Jones directs a new production, where Boris’s deeply felt guilt and horror at the human sacrifices he has made in his ascent to power is emphasized through the realistic depiction of the murder of the young Crown Prince.
The story is centred on the Tsar, Boris Godunov who comes to power by murdering the nine-year-old Dmitry, heir to the throne. Boris has ruled well, but famines, thought by some to be divine punishment, have led to rising support for his enemies. The young monk Grigory, realizing he was born the same day as the murdered Tsarevich, decides to pose as the risen Dmitry in a bid to seize the throne.
In neighbouring Poland, the Pretender’s claim gathers support. Boris hears tales of the risen Tsarevich and, stricken with guilt, suffers hallucinations. He bids farewell to his son and dies, as the Pretender and his supporters march on Moscow.
The performance lasts about 2 hours; there is no interval.
Sung in Russian with English surtitles
If you would like further information, visit the Royal Opera House website here
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