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VIDEO: Get A First Look At René Pape In BORIS GODUNOV At The Met Opera


Mussorgsky’s original score is rough and even abrasive at times, which provoked subsequent revisions by other composers.

Don't miss bass René Pape in Stephen Wadsworth's landmark production of Mussorgsky's masterpiece, on stage through October 17 and live in cinemas on October 9. Sebastian Weigle conducts.

Bass René Pape, the world's reigning Boris, reprises his overwhelming portrayal of the tortured tsar caught between grasping ambition and crippling paranoia. Conductor Sebastian Weigle leads Mussorgsky's masterwork, a pillar of the Russian repertoire, in its original 1869 version, which runs two-and-a-quarter hours with no intermission. Stephen Wadsworth's affecting production poignantly captures the hope and suffering of the Russian people as well as the tsar himself.

A pinnacle of the Russian operatic canon, Boris Godunov operates on both the most epic and the most intimate levels, with huge crowd scenes and monumental monologues juxtaposed with snippets of smaller (but crucial) folk-based melodies. At the drama's core stands the titular tsar-a complex, nuanced figure who is both a hero and a villain, a summit of the bass repertory, and an utterly engrossing character. This season, the Met presents Mussorgsky's original one-act version from 1869.

The opera takes place in Russia between 1598 and 1605, an immensely turbulent time following the end of the Rurik dynasty and preceding the emergence of the Romanov dynasty. Scene IV is set on the Russian border with Lithuania, but the rest of the opera is set in and around Moscow. Several of the places specified in the libretto can still be seen today, including the Kremlin's Terem Palace, which is now the official residence of the Russian president.

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