[Met Performance] CID:127050

Boris Godunov
Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, December 1, 1939

In Italian

Boris Godunov (91)
Modest Mussorgsky | Modest Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov
Ezio Pinza

Prince Shuisky
Alessio De Paolis

Nicola Moscona

Charles Kullman

Kerstin Thorborg

Leonard Warren

Norman Cordon

Simpleton/Boyar in Attendance
Nicholas Massue

George Cehanovsky

Doris Doe

Giordano Paltrinieri

John Gurney

Marita Farell

Irra Petina

Anna Kaskas

Wilfred Engelman

Ettore Panizza

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 III, Scene 1: Room of Marina in the Castle of Michek, Poland
Act III, Scene 2: Garden of the Castle
Act IV, Scene 1: The forest of Kromy
Act V, Scene 2: Hall of the Duma in the Kremlin

Review 1:

Review of Samuel Chotzinoff in the Post

"Boris Godunov" Given At the Metropolitan

Panizza, Conducting, Seems to Have Missed Big Sweep of Melodies

Moussorgsky's "Boris Godunov," revived at the Metropolitan at the very end of last season, last night served as the fourth subscription presentation of the [first] week. Mr. Pinza was again the Boris, and Mr. Panizza conducted.

A good-sized house heard the opera with a show of interest. Twenty-seven years ago Arturo Toscanini introduced it to New York, at which time the full measure of its greatness and originality was made manifest. When Toscanini left the Metropolitan the opera was shelved until the late Mr. Chaliapin restored it as a one-man show. Its present revival must be taken as an attempt to bring back to the repertoire the outstanding example of the Russian school and a music-drama which is unique. The role of Boris is in the capable hands of Mr. Pinza. Mr. Panizza has restored a scene which used to be omitted in the presentations of former years. "Boris" at the Metropolitan cannot be said to do justice to Moussorgsky.

It seemed to me last night that Mr. Panizza failed to convey any of the inherent quality of this music. He missed the incisive, almost barbaric, rhythms, the somber grandeur of its climaxes, the big sweep of its melodies. The Coronation scene, which should be overpowering with the rhythmic pealing of bells and the great acclaim of the populace, was only a mild approximation of the great moment. The scene of Boris and his children and, later, Schuisky, was tame, and the magnificent Mazourkas in the garden of Marina's castle was a flat denial of the implications of the score at that point. Certainly the music is more exciting than it sounded.

Mr. Pinza is an excellent Boris, but it would be idle to deny that he acts and sings under the shadow of the departed Chaliapin. He is vocally suited to the part and he portrays with every evidence of sincerity the tortured, introspective Tsar. But he has remembered many of the poses and gestures of his tremendous predecessor. These are good in themselves. Yet one was aware that they were not Mr. Pinza's own, and one longs for a characterization that would have been Mr. Pinza's own.

Miss Thorborg sang the role of Marina well and made of her the determined, ambitious lady she is in the score. Mr. Charles Kullman was passionate and forceful as the false Dimitri and Mr. Alessio De Paolis was convincing as the crafty Schuisky. Excellent bits were the Teodor of Irra Petina, the Nurse of Miss Kaskas, the Xenia of Miss Farell, the Vaarlam of Norman Cordon and the Pimen of Mr. Moscona. I thought the chorus was for the most part apathetic and orchestra unresponsive.

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