[Met Performance] CID:162210

Boris Godunov
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, March 9, 1953

In English

Boris Godunov (118)
Modest Mussorgsky | Modest Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov
Cesare Siepi

Prince Shuisky
Andrew McKinley

Jerome Hines

Brian Sullivan

Blanche Thebom

Sigurd Björling

Salvatore Baccaloni

Paul Franke

Lawrence Davidson

Algerd Brazis

Thelma Votipka

Clifford Harvuot

Martha Lipton

Thomas Hayward

Paula Lenchner

Mildred Miller

Jean Madeira

Marina's Companion
Lucine Amara

Marina's Companion
Laura Castellano

Marina's Companion
Hertha Glaz

Marina's Companion
Margaret Roggero

Osie Hawkins

Boyar in Attendance
Gabor Carelli

Fritz Stiedry

Review 1:

Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times


Appears in English Version of Opera at 'Met' - House Again Sold Out for Production

Mussorgsky's "ur - Boris," the original version of the opera, with the new orchestration of Karol Rathaus, was repeated last night at the Metropolitan Opera House and a new Boris headed the cast-Cesare Siepi.

As at the initial production of this fresh version of the opera last Friday night, the house was sold out long in advance of the event. The public interest in it is evidently very strong. The hope is that in consequence of this interest, and the deserts of the opera itself, it will flourish in the repertory not only for the remainder of this season but next season also, until the weak spots of individual interpretation have been strengthened and distinct errors in both stage and orchestral direction have been remedied in a manner that befits the grandeur and genius of the work, which requires, for its complete effect, an interpretation more comprehending than it now receives.

Mr. Siepi's Boris made an excellent impression. He took the role for the first time. He cannot have found it easy to sing it in English. It is a part that must mature for years in an artist's consciousness before he can hope to fully reveal the dramatic quality and also do himself justice in its interpretation.

Voice Suited to Role

Not only because of his superb voice, dark colored and well suited to this role, but also by reason of the sincerity and the dignity of his conception, Mr. Siepi now has a meritorious accomplishment to his credit; potentially it is a great one.

Of the other parts, the ones that show out particularly in this observer's esteem are those of Jerome Hines as Pimen and the Marina of Miss Thebom, referred to on earlier occasion. Mr. Hines' monk is admirable. The beauty and sonority of the voice suggest that he might take more of the low-voiced male parts in this cast without doing it the slightest harm. His diction was the best of any on the stage. Every word carried, and carried meaning and feeling with it.

Some of them fail, as it appears to us, by reason of Mr. Yannopoulos's apparently superficial comprehension of the opera. There should be some stop put to Mr. Baccaloni's tomfoolery in the Inn Scene, which is not a place for a merely buffo act, jiggling the legs as he drinks, in time to the rhythm of wild ballad of the siege of Kazan, which this old drunken rascal actually should sing with the savagery and the barbaric exultance that the music possesses.

Other Parts Are Listed

The Idiot should not be stuck up on a stand as the peasants leave him crouching-as he should do-and whining of the misery of Russia deserted in the Kromy Forest.

Mr. Bjoerling's Rangoni is as stiff as it well could be, with all the animation of a wooden Indian, and no picture of that wily intriguer. And if Mr. de Paolis (who is one of the best Shuiskys that the Metropolitan or any other opera house that we know possesses) cannot have this role because of his difficulty of singing it in English, we can only say that we would rather have him do it in an approximation of Choctaw, if need be, because he would make us understand the character and its motivation at once, by the color of his voice and his remarkable bearing and pantomime in this part. A good Shuisky is very important to the drama of Boris Godunov. So are some other secondary roles, which need not be discussed at this time.

Also a spirited and discerning orchestral interpretation of the score is necessary.

There was a demonstration at the end of the performance, which included five curtain calls for the ensemble, and eight for Mr. Siepi alone, whose death scene of Boris strengthened the excellent impression he had made in earlier passages.

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