[Met Performance] CID:180390

Boris Godunov
Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, December 5, 1958

In English

Boris Godunov (148)
Modest Mussorgsky | Modest Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov
George London

Prince Shuisky
Charles Kullman

Norman Scott

Giulio Gari

Rosalind Elias

Clifford Harvuot

Lawrence Davidson

Paul Franke

Louis Sgarro

Thomas Powell

Thelma Votipka

Calvin Marsh

Martha Lipton

Charles Anthony

Osie Hawkins

Emilia Cundari

Mildred Miller

Mignon Dunn

Hal Roberts

Boyar in Attendance
Robert Nagy

Donald Martin

Dimitri Mitropoulos

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in the January 1, 1959 issue of Musical America

Despite the fact that there were no fewer than seven cast changes (including two which introduced artists to their roles for the first time at the Metropolitan), this was a powerful and inspired performance - one which made one gasp anew at the unique, the incredibly original genius of Mussorgsky.

Chief thanks must go to George London, making his first appearance of season in the title role. His performance was nothing short of magnificent. Comparatively brief in actual extent, the role of Boris requires an almost superhuman actor and singer, and yet Mr. London towered in it, filling the whole theatre with a magnetic current that took me back to the days of Chaliapin. At times, he had to resort almost to parlando to be heard through Dimitri Mitropoulos's tumultuous orchestra, but every word, every gesture, ever inflection of the tortured Czar was conveyed with stabbing directness. The death scene had the sombre magic and lurking horror that are imbedded in the music, and Mr. London's fall down the steps of the throne was far too believable to seem melodramatic.

Splendid, also, was Rosalind Elias, in her first performance as Marina at the Metropolitan. The part suits her vivid personality and the sensuous warmth of her voice to perfection and she acted it with notable perception. She even danced well, ably partnered by Donald Martin, who was soloist with the ballet and who really looked like a Polish nobleman, besides moving gracefully. The choreography by Yurek Lazowski is all in horizontals, but it has the rare virtue of looking like a festive social dance and not like an interpolated ballet number.

Other artists who were obviously swept along by the fiery spirit of the performance were Mildred Miller (Fyodor), Norman Scott (Pimen), Giulio Gari (Grigori), and Lawrence Davidson (Varlaam), all of whom were making their first appearances of the season in their roles. New to the cast was Louis Sgarro as the guard, Nikitich. In familiar roles were Emilia Cundari (Xenia), Mignon Dunn (the Nurse), Charles Kullman (Shuiski), Calvin Marsh (Shchelkalov), Clifford Harvuot (Rangoni), Charles Anthony (Missail), Martha Lipton (Innkeeper), Paul Franke (the Simpleton), and Osie Hawkins, Robert Nagy, Thelma Votipka, Thomas Powell, and Hal Roberts.

Mr. Mitropoulos may have been erratic, but he, too, made us feel the incomparable depth and originality of this score, arranged with faithfulness to Mussorgsky's original by Karol Rathaus. The audience, I am happy to report, was on the edge of its seats most of the evening and thick-witted premature applauders at the end were fiercely "shushed".

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