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BORIS GODUNOW is Now Playing at Vienna State Opera

Performances run 11-27 May 2022.

BORIS GODUNOW is Now Playing at Vienna State Opera

A crowd of people outside Moscow's Novodevichiy Monastery are being whipped to force them to beg Boris Godunow to become their Tsar. The throne is vacant following the murder of Dimitri, the rightful heir. Filled with dreadful premonitions, next day Boris proceeds to the Kremlin for his coronation to the jubilation of the people. The monk Pimen is completing his history of Russia at the Chudov Monastery.

The last chapter deals with the murder of the tsarevitch Dimitri by Boris's henchmen. The elderly monk tells Grigory that Dimitri would be exactly the same age as him, which makes a deep impression on Grigory. When Pimen departs for prayers, Dimitri absconds from the monastery with the intention of fighting against Boris. Now a wanted man, he joins up with the mendicant friars Varlaam and Missail. In a tavern near the Lithuanian frontier, he barely escapes from a patrol. Boris Godunow is plagued with qualms of conscience in the tsar's palace in the Kremlin. Prince Shuisky reports that a man claiming to be Dimitri has appeared in Poland.

This prompts Boris to ask Shuisky - who witnessed the crime - to describe the murder of Dimitri to him once again. In a fit of insanity, the figure of the murdered child appears to him. In front of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, the starving people are begging Boris to give them bread. The Holy Fool accuses Boris of murdering the tsarevitch. The assembly of boyars learns about Boris's hallucinations from Shuisky. When Boris himself appears, he realizes his end is near. He takes leave of his son and dies.

Performances run 11-27 May 2022. Learn more at

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