Friday, January 7, 2011
Today in history, Boris Gudonov ascended to Tsar of Russia in 1598. Pushkin immortalized Gudonov in his play. In some ways Boris was like Richard III, as he was believed to have disposed of Ivan's sons so that he could become Tsar. His reign was relatively short - 7 years, but he left his legacy to his son, Feodor II. Mussorgsky made Pushkin's play into an opera, which premiered at Mariinsky Theatre on 5 February 1873, although earlier versions existed. The opera has been staged countless times since and is considered one of the great masterpieces of Russian opera. Here's the death scene from the film version (1954) of the opera, with Aleksandr Pirogov in the lead role.