[Met Performance] CID:186210

Boris Godunov
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, November 14, 1960

In English

Boris Godunov (156)
Modest Mussorgsky | Modest Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov
Cesare Siepi

Prince Shuisky
Norman Kelley

Giorgio Tozzi

William Olvis

Brenda Lewis

Kim Borg

Lawrence Davidson

Paul Franke

Louis Sgarro

Thomas Powell

Thelma Votipka

Calvin Marsh

Martha Lipton

Charles Anthony

Osie Hawkins

Teresa Stratas

Helen Vanni

Mignon Dunn

Kurt Kessler

John Trehy

Hal Roberts

Boyar in Attendance
Robert Nagy

Ron Sequoio

Erich Leinsdorf

Review 1:

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the New York Herald Tribune

'Boris Godunov' Repeated by Metropolitan

At the repeat presentation of Moussorgsky's "Boris Godunov" last night at the Metropolitan, the stage was awash with changes in cast. Among those who were performing their roles for the first time this season were Cesare Siepi in the title role, Helen Vanni as Feodor, Lawrence Davison as Varlaam and Charles Anthony as Missail. The artists who were heard in their roles for the first time with the company included William Olvis, who substituted for the indisposed Brian Sullivan as Grigori, and Brenda Lewis as Marina. Erich Leinsdorf was again the conductor.

All of the performers were excellent, though each of them labored under a frightful handicap - the orchestra was so loud that it either obscured the text or else made it appear that the singers were working with their backs to the audience. Still, it was obvious that Mr. Siepi's Boris is a sharply delineated characterization which, especially in the Clock Scene, stung with its power and frantic majesty. Also he has honed the role to the point where it strikes a nerve not only during the soliloquies, but, as well, in those episodes in which the Tsar is involved in a discourse with others.

As for Mr. Olvis, he has the makings of a fine Grigori, though he must come to understand that singing loud is not necessarily the equivalent of singing expressively. In fact, he barked at times, which did neither his voice nor his portrayal the slightest good. Brenda Lewis, in what little I was able to hear of her, made a whacking good impression as Marina, and Lawrence Davidson gave us a Varlaam whose drunkenness did not in the least interfere with his ability to sound resonant, sonorous and thoroughly expressive.

But, as I say, there was so much emphasis on the music in the pit that a good deal of the evening was more concert than opera. That is all very well, since Shostakovich's orchestration of Mussorgsky's score is in every way superb. On the other hand, one had come to hear the singing and, more often than not, it was impossible to do so.

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