[Met Performance] CID:101860
Boris Godunov {86} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/12/1929.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 12, 1929
In Italian


BORIS GODUNOV {86}
Mussorgsky--Mussorgsky

Boris Godunov...........Fyodor Chaliapin
Prince Shuisky..........Angelo Badà
Pimen...................Léon Rothier
Grigory.................Armand Tokatyan
Marina..................Marion Telva
Varlaam.................Paolo Ananian
Simpleton...............Alfio Tedesco
Nikitich................Louis D'Angelo
Shchelkalov.............George Cehanovsky
Innkeeper...............Ina Bourskaya
Missail.................Giordano Paltrinieri
Xenia...................Charlotte Ryan
Feodor..................Ellen Dalossy
Nurse...................Dorothea Flexer
Lavitsky................George Cehanovsky
Chernikovsky............Vincenzo Reschiglian

Conductor...............Vincenzo Bellezza

Orchestration by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............Alexander Golovine
Set designer............Alexander Benois
Costume designer........Ivan Bilibine
Translation by M.Delines, E. Palermi, G. Pardo


Synopsis of Scenes
Act I, Scene 1: The wall of Novodievitchi Convent, in the Great Environs of Moscow
Act I, Scene 2: A cell in the Convent of Miracles
Act I, Scene 3: The square between the two Cathedrals of the Assumption and of the Archangels

Act II, Scene 1: An inn on the frontier of Lithuania
Act II, Scene 2: Apartments of the Czar in the Kremlin at Moscow
Act II, Scene 3: Garden of the Castle of Michek

Act III, Scene 1: The forest of Kromy
Act III, Scene 2: Hall of the Duma in the Kremlin

[Chaliapin always sang Boris in Russian.]

Review of Samuel L. Laciar in the Philadelphia Public Ledger

CHALIAPIN SUPERB IN 'BORIS GODUNOFF

Dramatic and Vocal Art of Russian outstanding in Metropolitan Opera Production

Feodor Chaliapin, greatest of Russian operatic artists, last evening gave another astounding exhibition of his art in Moussorgsky's 'Boris Godunoff," greatest of Russian operas, presented at the Academy of Music by the Metropolitan Opera Company. "Boris" is really not an opera in the usually accepted sense; it is a series of "pictures," as the composer himself has termed them, illustrating events in the life of Boris Godunoff, regicide and remorse-torn Czar. There is in it a certain lack of dramatic continuity, although there is no lack of drama in the incidents themselves, especially as interpreted by Mr. Chaliapin.

Chaliapin Monopolizes Opera

Boris is a one-character opera - as indeed any stage work in which Mr. Chaliapin appears is apt to be - and the essential characteristic of the work. In it Moussorgsky broke as completely with the dominant Italian opera of the period in which "Boris" was composed as did Wagner in the German opera written in the same period. There were no set arias, and much of the vocal writing is recitative or semi-recitative. At the same time there is plenty of melody based, usually, upon Russian folk song.

Mr. Chaliapin's work last evening was superb, especially in the scene in which he imagines the spirit of the murdered Tsarevitch returns to haunt him and, to an even greater extent, in that depicting the death of Boris. In this scene Miss Dalossy (who very capably enacted the role of Theodor, young son of Boris), was herself manifestly overcome, as was shown in her appearance before the curtain with Mr. Chaliapin and other members of the cast.

Mr. Chaliapin was in excellent voice and used the vocal part of the role chiefly to supplement the dramatic action, although there was no lack of fine and expressive singing, especially in the last act, where Boris has almost the only sustained melodic passages of the opera. He received prolonged applause at the close of each scene.

Moussorgsky's opera requires a huge cast, no fewer than sixteen being demanded. Of the other members of the cast special mention should be made of Mr. Ananian's splendid performance of Vaarlam, the renegade monk. His singing of "When I Was in Kazan" and his acting were of an exceedingly high order. Armand Tokatyan as the false Dimitri and Leon Rothier as the monk Pimen were excellent in every respect.

Ina Bourskaya as the Lithuanian innkeeper gave a rare touch of Slavic atmosphere and Marion Telva was a charming and entirely competent Marina, singing very finely the beautiful music of the last scene of the second act. The remainder of the large cast was adequate and the chorus was magnificent, especially in the "Coronation" scene and that in the forest of Kromy, which opens the last act.

Mr. Bellezza conducted and generally did well, although there were some passages where all the sections of the orchestra were not together. The performance grew continually better as it progressed, the rough spots of the [first] scenes smoothing out until the last two acts left little to be desired from any standpoint



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