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Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov (1869 version, live)

Composer Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Performer Brunnsbo Children's Choir [Brunnsbo Barnkör]
Gothenburg Opera Chorus
Mika Kares
Maksim Paster
Sergei Skorokhodov
Alexander Tsymbalyuk
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Kent Nagano, conductor
Period Modern
Catalogue Number BIS-2320 SACD
EAN 7318599923208
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

  –  2 discs
Release date Sep 2019
Total time 124'56

Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov stands out among the major works of the opera repertoire in having an extremely complex creative history. The original libretto, by the composer himself, was based closely on Pushkin’s Shakespeare-inspired drama about the ill-fated Russian ruler. Mussorgsky completed the score in 1869, and submitted it to the committees of the Imperial Theatres.. It was rejected, however, primarily because of the lack of a female lead and therefore a love interest, but Mussorgsky’s unadorned style has also been mentioned as a reason. In 1871 the composer therefore reworked the opera extensively, adding new scenes – and a female principal in the form of the Polish princess Marina Mniszek – and changing the overall structure from seven scenes into a prologue and four acts.

The revised Boris was completed in 1872, and two years later it was finally performed in St Petersburg, while the Moscow audience had to wait until 1888, seven years after the death of its composer. In order to promote the work, Mussorgsky’s colleague and friend Rimsky-Korsakov later undertook to revise the work, making the orchestration more traditional and colourful and softening a number of harsh harmonies. It was the Rimsky-Korsakov version that took the opera out of Russia and without it, the opera would not be as widely known as it is today. In recent times, however, several opera houses have begun performing the more abrasive original version from 1869, and it is this ‘Ur-Boris’ that has been recorded here. It is performed by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra under its principal guest conductor, Kent Nagano. They are joined by a cast of mainly Russian vocal soloists, headed by Alexander Tsymbalyuk as Boris, a role he performed under Nagano already in 2013 at the Bayerische Staatsoper. In the opera, as in Pushkin’s drama, the Russian people plays a hugely important role – here performed by the Göteborg Opera Chorus.
Choose format
Disc 1
  Modest Mussorgsky
  Scene 1: Boris is called to the throne 16'19
01 What’s up with you? 5'36
02 For whom do you desert us? 1'24
03 True-believers! The boyar is steadfast 2'35
04 Glory to thee, Almighty Creator 6'44
  Scene 2: The Coronation Scene 8'04
05 Long live Tsar Boris Feodorovich! 4'21
06 My soul is grieving 2'15
07 Glory! Glory! Glory! 1'28
  Scene 3: In Pimen’s Cell 21'20
08 One more, one final tale 4'24
09 That dream once more! 1'44
10 You have been awake and writing all night 6'58
11 Good father, I have often wanted 5'16
12 It’s ringing for matins 2'58
  Scene 4: At the Inn 16'32
13 What can I offer you, reverend fathers? 2'14
14 Once upon a time in the city of Kazan 2'00
15 Why aren’t you singing? 4'37
16 He rides on… 3'42
17 I can read 3'59
Disc 2
  Scene 5: Kremlin Scene 24'41
01 My beloved bridegroom 2'39
02 Enough, my Tsarevna 5'28
03 I’ve achieved the highest power 4'17
04 What do you want? 4'31
05 But no! Wait, wait a moment 3'02
06 Death does not frighten me 4'44
  Scene 6: In front of the Cathedral of St Basil the Blessed 11'19
07 Is the mass over? 3'44
08 Trrrr… Tin hat 4'10
09 Why is he crying? 3'25
  Scene 7: The Death of Boris 26'41
10 Noble Boyars! 2'48
11 Well then, let us now vote 2'26
12 A pity that Prince Shuisky is not here 3'27
13 Begone! Begone! 2'53
14 A humble monk 2'51
15 Once, deep in sleep 2'24
16 Leave us... go away, everyone! 4'04
17 O Lord! Lord! Look down 5'48
  Album total 124'56
ComposerMussorgsky, Modest
ConductorNagano, Kent
OrchestraGothenburg Symphony Orchestra
PerformerKares, Mika
Paster, Maksim
Skorokhodov, Sergei
Tsymbalyuk, Alexander
ChoirBrunnsbo Children's Choir [Brunnsbo Barnkör]
Gothenburg Opera Chorus (Göteborgs Operakör)

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