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Don't Miss Mussorgsky's Epic Russian Operatic Masterpiece Boris Godunov From The Met On PBS This Week

  This week PBS will be showing the Metropolitan Opera's acclaimed new production of Modest Mussorgsky's powerful epic Russian opera "Boris Godunov ", and you should kick yourself if you miss it.  Check your local newspaper for the time this week; it will be shown in the New York area this Thursday and elsewhere this weekend.

  Boris Godunov, but the great but erratic Russian genius Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) , is one of the greatest masterpieces of Russian opera , and is based on the play by the same name by Alexander Pushkin.  The opera portrays a turbulent and unstable period in Russian history toward the end of the 16th century ,when the ambitious Russian Boyar Boris Godunov usurped the throne in Moscow after the death of the only surviving son of Ivan the Terrible.
 
   In the opera, Boris has had the Tsarevich Dmitri ,who was just a boy,assasinated by his henchmen in order to become Tsar ,even though historians have shown that the boy actualy died in accidental circumstances .   Boris is croned Tsar in a majestic scene filled with the bells of Moscow and  the acclaim of the people , but is tormented by guilt and is surrounded by treacherous intrigue among the Boyars as well as terrible unrest among the downtrodden Russian populace,  suffering from poverty and famine.

   Meanwhile , a young  monk named Grigori escapes from his monastary and organizes a bold plan to take power by claiming that the Dmitri was is still alive and that he is the Tsarevich .  He stirs up the populace and attempts to ally himself with Poland by courting an ambitious young Polish noblewoman, Marina ,who hopes to seize power in Russia herself.
 
   Overcome by guilt and the stress of ruling , Boris dies in one of the most powerful death scenes in opera . In the final scene,  the populace, who have been suffering under the tyranny of Boris , hail the false Dmitri as their  Tsar ,while a holy fool  laments the manifold woes of mother Russia .  What will happen is uncertain .
 
   Mussorgwsky's sweeping tale is filled with music of elemental power and filled with the spirit of Russian folk music .   The chorus , portraying peasants ,  beggars, priests and  many other characters, has a very important role in the opera .

   Boris will be sung by the magnificent German bass Rene Pape (Pah-peh) ,and the rest of the cast consists primarily of leading Russian opera singers , and the conductor is the renowned Ossetian conductor Valery Gergiev ,of the Mariinsky Theater in St.Petersburg .

   English subtitles will be on screen as usual .   Check the Met's website metopera.org for more informnation , and you can stream Met performances online easily on Met Player.  This should be an unforgettable experience .  
Posted: Feb 08 2011, 05:49 PM by the horn | with no comments
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