[Met Performance] CID:93380
Boris Godunov {76} Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 04/27/1926.

(Review)


Cleveland, Ohio
April 27, 1926
In Italian


BORIS GODUNOV {76}
Mussorgsky--Mussorgsky

Boris Godunov...........Fyodor Chaliapin
Prince Shuisky..........Angelo Badà
Pimen...................Léon Rothier
Grigory.................Armand Tokatyan
Marina..................Marion Telva
Varlaam.................Paolo Ananian
Simpleton...............Max Bloch
Nikitich................Louis D'Angelo
Shchelkalov.............Millo Picco
Innkeeper...............Henriette Wakefield
Missail.................Max Altglass
Xenia...................Nannette Guilford
Feodor..................Louise Hunter
Nurse...................Dorothea Flexer
Lavitsky................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Chernikovsky............Arnold Gabor

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 Wilson G. Smith in the Cleveland Record

SOUL-TORTURED CZAR PORTAYED BY CHALIAPIN

Russian's Mighty Voice and Histrionic Art have Realism Defying Criticism

'Tis a far cry from Italy to Russia, and by the same token the distance is as great from Giordano to Moussorgsky. The nationalism depicted in tonal colors by the one breathes of optimism expressed in fluent and joyous melody; pessimism, thru prevailing minor modes is the characteristic of the latter's inspiration. All due, scientists tell us, to geographic location and economic conditions. One revels in exhilarating tunefulness, the other in plaintive airs tinged with hidden grief, poignant and despairing. All which accounts for psychological difference between "The Jest," heard Monday night, and "Boris Godunov," presented by the Metropolitan Tuesday night.

Devoid of Clangor

For the work of an avowed neo-Russian, "Boris" was markedly devoid of raucousness and the barbaric clangor one was led to expect. Neither in the orchestral score nor in the vocal parts were the bounds of agreeable music transgressed. That the basis partook of quasi folksong was apparent to the most casual listener, but thru inspiration and constructive development it attained the status of real and convincing art.

It is possible that Rimski-Korsakov, who completed the work and orchestration, gave it the added beauties of refinement, for the orchestra was at all times in abeyance to the vocal score. Supportive, but not obliterative. Which may not be said of eitherWagner or Strauss, to mention two outstanding operatic geniuses.

Kaleidoscopic Scenes

The sumptuous mounting of the opera added to the theatric and spectacular visualizing effect, and the brilliant costuming in the chorus ensemble made of scenes a kaleidoscopic play of colors. As was to be expected, Chaliapin was the dominating figure. His portrayal of the czar, one moment with his sound tortured with remorse, and the next goaded on by an unbounded and unquenchable ambition was masterful. To specify only one instance: his acting of the second scene of the second act was a marvel of histrionic art. It had a realism that defied premeditation or preconceived calculation.

I could dilate upon his superb portrayal of the role ad infinitum, but when one says that he is a master of his art, a whole vocabulary of superlatives is epitomized. So we let the matter rest at that. The supporting cast was in capable hands, making the presentation another that will dwell long in the memory of those fortunate enough to have been in attendance.

Ingratiating Lyricism

Tokatyan displayed to the best advantage the splendid qualities of his ingratiating lyricism. The love scene between Telva and Tokatyan was one of the vocal lights of the opera. Guilford and Hunter sustained their minor roles with distinct credit. Ananian did some clever buffoon acting and singing in the tavern scene. Rothier also is to be commended for his excellent singing as Pimen. The chorus in the first act was of fine character and quality.

Bamboschek directed in place of Papi, who was indisposed, and held his forces under splendid batonic control. Wednesday, "La Gioconda" will be given with Rosa Ponselle in the title role.



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