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Opera Modest Mussorgsky "Boris Godunov" Production: Andrei Tarkovsky (1983) (opera in four acts with a prologue (version of 1872))
World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera - established 1783

Running time: 2 hour 15 minutes

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Modest Mussorgsky "Boris Godunov" Production: Andrei Tarkovsky (1983) (opera in four acts with a prologue (version of 1872)) 2022

Composer: Modest Mussorgsky
Lighting Designer: Vladimir Lukasevich
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Musical Director: Maestro Valery Gergiev
Musical Preparation: Irina Soboleva
Director: Irkin Gabitov
Conductor: Pavel Smelkov
Revival Stage Director: Irkin Gabitov
Director: Graham Vick
Principal Chorus Master: Dmitry Ralko
Stage Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Production design: Nikolai Dvigubsky
Conductor: Dmitry Ralko
Piano: Irina Soboleva

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra

Opera in 4 act

Performed in Russian, with synchronised English supertitles

World premiere: 27 January 1874, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia
Premiere of this production: 10 May 2006, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia

The Tsar Boris Godunov came 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.

Libretto by the composer based on the historical drama by Alexander Pushkin


Prologue and Scene I 
A courtyard of the Novodyevichy Monastery outside Moscow.
Guards and police officers are goading the people to pray that Boris Godunov will accept the throne. The Duma clerk Shchelkalov comes out and informs the people that Boris refuses to accept it.
The police officer announces the Boyar’s order: "Be in the Kremlin tomorrow and await orders". 

Scene II
A square in the Moscow Kremlin.
Boris’ coronation in the Cathedral of the Assumption. Boris appears amid bell-ringing to the people. He is afraid of the burden of power. 

Scene III
A cell in the Chudov Monastery.
Monk Pimen is completing his chronicle of Russian history. The young novice, Grigory, is sleeping in the corner. He wakes from a bad dream; for the third time now he has seen himself ascend a steep staircase and look down over Moscow from a great height before falling.
Grigory listens to the story of Pimen’s earlier life and asks about the death of Tsarevich Dmitry in Uglich. "He would have been the same age as you and have ruled", says Pimen. These words have a deep effect on Grigory, resulting in a brave and wild plan. 

Scene IV 
An inn on the Lithuanian border.
Having run away from the monastery, Grigory, accompanied by the two wandering monks Missail and Varlaam, intends to cross the border. Grigory learns from the hostess of the inn how to enter Lithuania, avoiding the border guards.
Police officers arrive at the inn. They are looking for the fugitive who, they say, poses a danger to Muscovy. Only Grigory can read the warrant. He reads that the novice Grigory had run away from the Chudov monastery and the Tsar has ordered his capture. The warrant contains a description of him. To save himself, glancing at Varlaam, he gives a description of the latter. He is suddenly seized with fear. Varlaam slowly reads the imperial decree. Grigory is recognised. He flees. 

Scene V 
The Tsar’s apartments in the Moscow Kremlin.
Xenia, Godunov’s daughter, is mourning the death of her husband. Fyodor, Boris’ son, is also there. The Tsar enters. He tries to console his daughter and is interested in his son’s lessons. All is not well with him. Boris knows that the people hate him and that he will be unable to attain their affection by any means.
Boris’ reflections are interrupted by Shuisky’s entrance, his ancient enemy. It is with great schadenfreude that he informs Boris that a Pretender has appeared in Lithuania. The name of the Tsarevich Dmitry unsettles Boris.
Boris orders Shuisky to fortify the Lithuanian border. He asks the Prince to confirm the Tsarevich’s death. Shuisky tells of the murder in detail. Surprised and terrified, Boris drives Shuisky out and he imagines he sees the ghost of the murdered child. 

Scene VI 
Outside St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow.
A crowd of poor and hungry people is awaiting the end of the service. Inside the cathedral, Grigory is being denounced. The word is being passed that the Pretender’s forces are approaching Moscow.
Children outside the cathedral steal a kopeck from a Simpleton. He weeps. The Tsar and his entourage leave the cathedral. The people ask him for bread. The Tsar asks the Simpleton why he is crying. The latter replies that "some boys stole my kopeck, kill them like you had the young Tsarevich killed". Boris stops people from approaching and seizing the Simpleton, and asks him to pray for him. The Simpleton replies that "I cannot pray for Tsar Herod". 

Scene VII 
The Granovitaya Chamber in the Moscow Kremlin.
A meeting of the Council of Boyars to debate what action to ought to be taken against the Pretender. The others are disturbed that Shuisky is not present. He arrives at last. His tale of Boris’ sick visions is not believed. But Boris appears with the cry of "Be gone, be gone child! ". He addresses the Boyars. Shuisky interrupts him, suggesting he listen to an old man who wishes to divulge a secret. Pimen enters. He tells the Tsar that in Uglich there has been a miracle: a blind man recovered his sight at the grave of Tsarevich Dmitry. Boris cannot take this shock. Sensing that death is near, he calls his son:
To the tolling of bells, the dying Boris indicated Fyodor with the words "There is your Tsar". 

Schedule for Modest Mussorgsky "Boris Godunov" Production: Andrei Tarkovsky (1983) (opera in four acts with a prologue (version of 1872)) 2022

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