[Met Performance] CID:164940

Boris Godunov
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, February 18, 1954

In English

Boris Godunov (128)
Modest Mussorgsky | Modest Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov
Jerome Hines

Prince Shuisky
Charles Kullman

Norman Scott

Giulio Gari

Blanche Thebom

Clifford Harvuot

Lorenzo Alvary

Paul Franke

Lawrence Davidson

Algerd Brazis

Thelma Votipka

Arthur Budney

Martha Lipton

James McCracken

Genevieve Warner

Margaret Roggero

Jean Madeira

Marina's Companion
Elizabeth Holiday [Last performance]

Marina's Companion
Heidi Krall

Marina's Companion
Maria Leone

Marina's Companion
Sandra Warfield

Osie Hawkins

Boyar in Attendance
Gabor Carelli

Fritz Stiedry

Review 1:

Review of Raymond Ericson in Musical America

The first United States-born bass-baritone to appear in the role of Boris Godounoff at the Metropolitan, Jerome Hines, made operatic history in his assumption of that awesome role on Feb. 18. We know that Mr. Hines has thought long and hard about his characterization. He even made a psychiatric study of the mental derangement of Moussorgsky's Tsar with the assistance of physicians (see his own article on the subject in MUSICAL AMERICA, Feb. 1 ).

As a result, his performance was not a capricious pastiche of lay conceptions of progressive insanity, but an authentic portrait of manic depression ending in death by cerebral hemorrhage. Having a set pattern of behavior before him, Mr. Hines was never at a loss as to how to act and one never got the feeling that he was improvising gestures and pieces of business simply for the immediate theatrical effect. The characterization gradually developed symptomatically as the disease itself would and reached its climax with crushing inevitability and finality.

Another result of this approach was that Mr. Hines's Boris was warmer and more human than the austere symbol of maddened conscience we have grown accustomed to. In the scenes with his son, Fyodor, his voice and his whole bearing turned gentle and fatherly and one was reminded that Boris was, after all, a flesh-and-blood being with normal emotional reactions intermingled with the unbalanced ones.

Mr. Hines, I imagine, would be the last to say that his characterization Boris?is perfect at this point. Boris is a role that must be lived with for a considerable time and played over and over again until its full depth is plumbed and both have come to ripe maturity. Mr. Hines is still young man and with the magnificent grasp of the part that he now has, he may well go on to become the great Boris of our day. I feel that his voice-one truest, most supple and most beautifully scaled bass-baritones to be heard today-will play an increasingly important

part in this development. He has the tremendous advantage of being able to sing (and I mean really vocalize) all of his music whatever the register. Thus he is free to shape and color the vocal line and bolster some of the great dramatic moments with more vocal intensity than was employed on this occasion. He is fortunate in his diction too, for virtually every word was intelligible. This was rather a mixed blessing, however, since it made all too clear the unlovely and undistinguished English translation.

The rest of the cast, headed by the splendid Shuisky of Charles Kullman, was the same as before, and Fritz Stiedry again conducted.

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