[Met Performance] CID:88350
Boris Godunov {69} Academy of Music, New York, Brooklyn: 11/29/1924.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
November 29, 1924
In Italian


BORIS GODUNOV {69}
Mussorgsky--Mussorgsky

Boris Godunov...........Fyodor Chaliapin
Prince Shuisky..........Giordano Paltrinieri
Pimen...................José Mardones
Grigory.................Armand Tokatyan
Marina..................Ina Bourskaya
Varlaam.................Giovanni Martino
Simpleton...............Max Bloch
Nikitich................Louis D'Angelo
Shchelkalov.............Lawrence Tibbett
Innkeeper...............Henriette Wakefield
Missail.................Max Altglass
Xenia...................Grace Anthony
Feodor..................Raymonde Delaunois
Nurse...................Merle Alcock
Khrushchov..............Unknown
Lavitsky................Carl Schlegel
Chernikovsky............James Wolfe

Conductor...............Gennaro Papi

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 Edward Cushing in the Brooklyn Eagle

BORIS GODUNOV WITH CHALIAPIN AT THE ACADEMY

Russian Basso Makes First Brooklyn Appearance in Moussorgsky's Opera

Feodor Chaliapin, so far as we can discover, has never sung in Brooklyn. Memory does not serve to recall any posters on the Academy boards heralding his appearance, except for the recent concert which he did not give, But as an operatic actor he was entirely unfamiliar to the boards of the Brooklyn house until last evening when he appeared in the title role of Moussorgsky's "Boris Godunov."

The Academy has its advantages over the Manhattan Opera - its somewhat smaller dimensions bring one into closer contact with the stage which, if unhappy in the case of last week's "Lohengrin," is, nevertheless, distinctly favorable to the finer production and performance of "Boris." The infinite nuance of Chaliapin's performance can be followed with ease, no telling detail need escape any member of the audience - and perhaps, if we may be permitted a glance into the future, a Brooklyn "Pélleas et Méllisande" would be infinitely more satisfying than any possible in the larger Metropolitan.

Doubtless a large proportion of last evening's audience was familiar with Chaliapin's interpretation of what is rightly considered his finest role. His Boris has achieved a fame too wide easily to overlook, for it is perhaps the finest operatic characterization - quite probably one of the finest operatic characterizations - to be found on the stage. Its essential greatness is a little difficult to analyze or describe, for it is a matter of emotional rather than of intellectual perception. Chaliapin does not amaze us by his mastery of dramatic technique. His methods are extremely simple, and their effect is upon our sensibility and not upon our intellect. It is a carefully wrought performance in which the endless and exacting detail is submerged in completeness of the whole - is it a performance in which intuition blended with intelligence results in a portrait of unforgettable reality.

How Chaliapin Uses His Hands

There is certain majesty and no little art to the manner in which Chaliapin uses his hands. The continuous play of gesture which he employs might be ludicrous in another, but in him it has a rightness that cannot be questioned. The Russians are a sensitive race - they are far more emotionally analytical than we, and they have in consequence a ready capacity for revealing their passions, their distress. To understand completely a performance such as given by Chaliapin in "Boris" it is necessary that one realize the distinction between the Russian temperament and that of Western Europe or America.

Much the same applies to Moussorgsky's opera. It is nationalistic - both simple and profound. In passages such as the song of the Idiot, inadequately done last evening by Max Bloch, it has a distinctly Slavic naïveté, and in passages such as Boris's monologue before the entrance of Shuisky, it has a certain vastness, barbaric nobility typical of a certain Russian culture.

Garden Scene Unimpressive

The garden scene, brought in for the sole purpose of supplying the fragmentary work with a love duet and an adequate female role, might be omitted without damage to the whole - it is unimpressive, and in it Moussorgsky makes one of his rare descents to mere pretty lyricism. Ina Bourskaya was the Marina of this scene, singing the music with less enthusiasm and beauty than it, inadequate page though it is, deserves.

Armand Tokatyan was the evening's Dimitri - a Hue-voiced pretender to the Czar's throne. Raymonde Delaunois contributed an excellent performance of the Teodore, sympathetic, boy-like. Mardones sang his air of Kazan with ribald esprit - it is a rousing Tartaric brindisi. Giordano Paltrinieri sang Shuisky and the balance of the large cast included Grace Anthony, Merle Alcock, Carl Schlegl, Lawrence Tibbett, Giovanni Martino, Max Altglass, Henrietta Wakefield, Louis d'Angelo and James Wolf. The conductor was Gennaro Papi.



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