Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Boris Godunov

One of the things I find most interesting about Russian culture is the way literature, music and theatre have become intertwined.  Operas have been made of Eugene Onegin, War and Peace, and The Idiot.  Imagine an opera of Moby Dick or Whitman's Song to Myself!  The crowning operatic achievement remains Boris Godunov, based on a drama by Pushkin.

The drama had been censored until 1866.  Mussorgsky first staged his complete operatic production in 1874.  It is a towering achievement, and finally garnered the attention he deserved.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to come close to this peak again.  It has been remade countless times, versions by Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich among them.  In 1986, Bondarchuk made a movie based on the story. 

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