Around the turn of the seventeenth century, Boris Godunov led Russia during a time of succession crisis. When the three-year old heir Dmitri was murdered and his brother died without issue, Boris came to prove himself a popular, reforming leader. His reign, however, was wracked with suspicion about his involvement in Dmitri’s murder, and after his own death Russia was plunged into a decade of civil war, sparked by three successive rebels claiming to be the slain child.
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Musorgsky’s opera is a highly intelligent portrayal of the psychology of power and the tides of history, alternating grandiose paegentry with intimate family drama. The music, which relies on brass and percussion to a degree hitherto unseen on the operatic stage, was revolutionary. Although some contemporaries found in crude – Tchaikovsky even called it “the most vulgar and vile parody on music” – it has since been regarded as a masterpiece for its bold, forceful style.
Boris Godunov might be the ultimate showcase for a bass-baritone singer, which makes the prospect of Welsh master Bryn Terfel (Fiddler on the Roof, The Ring) taking the lead a tantalizing prospect. He will be joined by a huge cast, including Jette Parker Young Artist Vlada Borovko, the globetrotting Kostas Smoriginas and the diversely talented John Graham-Hall. Music Director Antonio Pappano conducts the orchestra in what looks to be a highlight of the Royal Opera’s 2015/16 season.
|What||Boris Godunov, Royal Opera House|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
14 Mar 16 – 05 Apr 16, 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Royal Opera House|