Download Boris Godunov (Opera Journeys Mini Guide Series) by Burton D. Fisher PDF

By Burton D. Fisher

A entire consultant to Mussorgsky's BORIS GODUNOV, that includes valuable Characters, short tale Synopsis, tale Narrative with track Examples, and an insightful remark and research.

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Extra info for Boris Godunov (Opera Journeys Mini Guide Series)

Sample text

Nevertheless, the passions of this scene serve to unite the entire drama: the ideal grist for the operatic mill. M ussorgsky found the most impressive, precise, and graphic musical means to illuminate and emphasize Boris Godunov’s complex personality: Boris the ruler, Boris the father, and Boris the sinner. Mussorgsky’s music provides appropriate characterization through its expressionistic sensations, at times moody, harsh, exotic, and eerie. ” Two basic themes characterize Boris as father: one motive accompanies his angry outburst against the duplicitous and treacherous Prince Shuisky, when he admonishes his son not to trust false and selfish counsel, a theme that is recalled when Boris suffers a fatal attack in the last act and calls for his son; the other, the tender phrases associated with his love for his daughter, Xenia.

In effect, Boris destroyed divine succession; he was a leader not ordained by God. Boris Godunov Page 31 Nevertheless, Boris is energetic in combating his enemies, relentless and imperious with his subservient and deceitful counselors, particularly the intriguing Prince Shuisky. But all of these characteristics are nullified by his pervasive guilt. The real tragedy of Boris — described by many as the “Russian Macbeth” — is that he cannot free himself from the haunting guilt of the crime he committed.

He was a sympathetic and loving father: he grieved with compassion over the death of his daughter Xenia’s fiance, and with his son Feodor, he devoted genuine loving concern, pouring over maps of Russia and approving of his son’s intelligence and education. Boris Godunov is a grand tragedy; it is a double tragedy that portrays a fallen ruler as well as a despairing nation. Boris committed one single misdeed, a crime that destroyed his soul: his remorse and guilty conscience dominate the opera, and there is scarcely a moment in the opera in which he does not grieve and suffer from guilt.

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