[Met Performance] CID:101740

Boris Godunov
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, March 4, 1929

In Italian

Boris Godunov (85)
Modest Mussorgsky | Modest Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov
Fyodor Chaliapin

Prince Shuisky
Angelo Badà

Ezio Pinza

Armand Tokatyan

Marion Telva

Paolo Ananian

Alfio Tedesco

Louis D'Angelo

George Cehanovsky

Ina Bourskaya

Giordano Paltrinieri

Ellen Dalossy

Thalia Sabanieeva

Dorothea Flexer

Millo Picco

Vincenzo Reschiglian

Vincenzo Bellezza

Armando Agnini

Set Designer
Alexander Golovine

Set Designer
Alexander Benois

Costume Designer
Ivan Bilibine

Orchestration by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Translation by M.Delines, E. Palermi, G. Pardo
Synopsis of Scenes
Act I, Scene 1: The wall of Novodievitchi Convent, in the Great Environs of Moscow
Act I, Scene 2: A cell in the Convent of Miracles
Act I, Scene 3: The square between the two Cathedrals of the Assumption and of the Archangels
Act II, Scene 1: An inn on the frontier of Lithuania
Act II, Scene 2: Apartments of the Czar in the Kremlin at Moscow
Act II, Scene 3: Garden of the Castle of Michek
Act III, Scene 1: The forest of Kromy
Act III, Scene 2: Hall of the Duma in the Kremlin
Benois designed only the Polish Scene.
Chaliapin always sang Boris in Russian.
Boris Godunov received three performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of W. J. Henderson in the New York Sun:

The opera at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening was Moussorgsky's "Boris Godunov." To all those who know the ins and outs of the operatic world this will mean that Feodor Chaliapin has returned to the lyric theater for one of his necessarily brief engagements. These are necessarily brief because the public desire is to witness his doings in only two or three roles. His Mephistopheles in "Faust" is well liked and his impersonation of the fiend in Boito's work might also be were it not that few have appetite for the opera. There is also "Don Quixote," in which Mr. Chaliapin reaches depths of pathos beyond those rendered possible by the Russian tragedy of the imperial sinner.

So in the end it is in "Boris Godunov" that the eminent singer, or rather singing actor, exerts his widest spell. There is nothing new to say about this impersonation. If any change in it were distinctly noticeable something would be furnished for a new chronicle; but it remains essentially the same as it was when it was first disclosed to this public. It is not a creation of vocal art; no hardened operagoer would ever call it that. It is a piece of acting in which singing is merely incidental, while a parlando that is practically speech produces the eloquent effects of the most moving scenes. Mr. Chaliapin exerted over last night's audience his familiar spell. The terror and despair of the haunted Czar imagining that he saw the ghost of his murdered victim and the frantic emotions leading to the death once more stirred the auditors. Chaliapin the tragedian was supreme despite the obvious decay of certain powers which he employed more liberally in earlier years.

The opera is lamely performed at the Metropolitan. It has been rumored that lessons will be accepted from the full score and the profound studies of the work and the man by Oskar von Riesemann and Victor Belaiev, but this would mean a radical reconstruction of the whole Metropolitan presentation and that might be accomplished only when it became necessary to look for a new impersonator of Boris. To find one to replace Chaliapin would not be easy.

Mr. Tokatyan as the false Dimitri, Miss Telva's Marina, Mr. Pinza, as Brother Pimen and several others are not those of better days. Only Mr. Bada remains as the unhappy Schousky and he has become mannered in the part. Nor has the work been conducted as it was when it was first given to New York. Possibly there may be a restudied "Boris Godunov" in the future instead of what we now have, delineation by Mr. Chaliapin with accessories.

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