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A Week in Sweden

Georgia Mann presents Opera Matinee: a controversial production of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov from Gothenburg Opera, with British bass Clive Bayley in the title role.

Georgia Mann presents Opera Matinee: a controversial production of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov from Gothenburg Opera, with British bass Clive Bayley in the title role.

Plus more highlights from recent concerts by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov (original 1869 version)
Boris Godunov ... Clive Bayley (bass)
Fyodor, Boris's son ... Solgerd Isalv (mezzo-soprano)
Kseniya, Boris's daughter ... Anna Johansson (soprano)
Kseniya's nurse ... Mari Lindbäck (contralto)
Prince Vasiliy Ivanovich Shuysky ... Tomas Lind (tenor)
Andrey Shchelkalov ... Mats Persson (baritone)
Pimen ... Mats Almgren (bass)
Grigory, the Pretender ... Joachim Bäckström (tenor) Varlaam, a vagabond ... Johan Schinkler (bass)
Innkeeper ... Matilda Paulsson (mezzo-soprano)
Misail, a vagabond / Yuródivïy (Holy Fool) ...
Conny Thimander (tenor) Nikitich ... Jonas Landström (bass)
Mitiyukha ... Tomas Jönsson (bass)
Gothenburg Children's Choir
Gothenburg Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor Leo Hussain

c. 4.05pm
Strauss: Don Juan
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Ariane Matiakh

Aulis Sallinen: The Nocturnal Dances of Don Juanquixote, Op 58
with Jan-Erik Gustafsson (cello)
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Klaus Mäkelä.

3 hours

Last on

Thu 24 May 2018 14:00

Music Played

  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Boris Godunov (original 1869 version) - Scene 1

    Singer: Clive Bayley. Singer: Solgerd Isalv. Singer: Anna Johansson. Singer: Mari Lindbäck. Singer: Tomas Lind. Singer: Mats Persson. Singer: Mats Almgren. Singer: Joachim Bäckström. Singer: Johan Schinkler. Singer: Matilda Paulsson. Singer: Conny Thimander. Singer: Jonas Landström. Singer: Tomas Jönsson. Choir: Gothenburg Children's Choir. Choir: GöteborgsOperans Kör. Orchestra: Stora Teaterns Orkester. Conductor: Leo Hussain.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Boris Godunov (original 1869 version) - Scene 2

    Singer: Clive Bayley. Singer: Solgerd Isalv. Singer: Anna Johansson. Singer: Mari Lindbäck. Singer: Tomas Lind. Singer: Mats Persson. Singer: Mats Almgren. Singer: Joachim Bäckström. Singer: Johan Schinkler. Singer: Matilda Paulsson. Singer: Conny Thimander. Singer: Jonas Landström. Singer: Tomas Jönsson. Choir: Gothenburg Children's Choir. Choir: GöteborgsOperans Kör. Orchestra: Stora Teaterns Orkester. Conductor: Leo Hussain.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Boris Godunov (original 1869 version) - Scene 3

    Singer: Clive Bayley. Singer: Solgerd Isalv. Singer: Anna Johansson. Singer: Mari Lindbäck. Singer: Tomas Lind. Singer: Mats Persson. Singer: Mats Almgren. Singer: Joachim Bäckström. Singer: Johan Schinkler. Singer: Matilda Paulsson. Singer: Conny Thimander. Singer: Jonas Landström. Singer: Tomas Jönsson. Choir: Gothenburg Children's Choir. Choir: GöteborgsOperans Kör. Orchestra: Stora Teaterns Orkester. Conductor: Leo Hussain.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Boris Godunov (original 1869 version) - Scene 4

    Singer: Clive Bayley. Singer: Solgerd Isalv. Singer: Anna Johansson. Singer: Mari Lindbäck. Singer: Tomas Lind. Singer: Mats Persson. Singer: Mats Almgren. Singer: Joachim Bäckström. Singer: Johan Schinkler. Singer: Matilda Paulsson. Singer: Conny Thimander. Singer: Jonas Landström. Singer: Tomas Jönsson. Choir: Gothenburg Children's Choir. Choir: GöteborgsOperans Kör. Orchestra: Stora Teaterns Orkester. Conductor: Leo Hussain.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Boris Godunov (original 1869 version) - Scene 5

    Singer: Clive Bayley. Singer: Solgerd Isalv. Singer: Anna Johansson. Singer: Mari Lindbäck. Singer: Tomas Lind. Singer: Mats Persson. Singer: Mats Almgren. Singer: Joachim Bäckström. Singer: Johan Schinkler. Singer: Matilda Paulsson. Singer: Conny Thimander. Singer: Jonas Landström. Singer: Tomas Jönsson. Choir: Gothenburg Children's Choir. Choir: GöteborgsOperans Kör. Orchestra: Stora Teaterns Orkester. Conductor: Leo Hussain.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Boris Godunov (original 1869 version) - Scene 6

    Singer: Clive Bayley. Singer: Solgerd Isalv. Singer: Anna Johansson. Singer: Mari Lindbäck. Singer: Tomas Lind. Singer: Mats Persson. Singer: Mats Almgren. Singer: Joachim Bäckström. Singer: Johan Schinkler. Singer: Matilda Paulsson. Singer: Conny Thimander. Singer: Jonas Landström. Singer: Tomas Jönsson. Choir: Gothenburg Children's Choir. Choir: GöteborgsOperans Kör. Orchestra: Stora Teaterns Orkester. Conductor: Leo Hussain.
  • Modest Mussorgsky

    Boris Godunov (original 1869 version) - Scene 7

    Singer: Clive Bayley. Singer: Solgerd Isalv. Singer: Anna Johansson. Singer: Mari Lindbäck. Singer: Tomas Lind. Singer: Mats Persson. Singer: Mats Almgren. Singer: Joachim Bäckström. Singer: Johan Schinkler. Singer: Matilda Paulsson. Singer: Conny Thimander. Singer: Jonas Landström. Singer: Tomas Jönsson. Choir: Gothenburg Children's Choir. Choir: GöteborgsOperans Kör. Orchestra: Stora Teaterns Orkester. Conductor: Leo Hussain.
  • Richard Strauss

    Don Juan

    Orchestra: Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester. Conductor: Ariane Matiakh.
  • Aulis Sallinen

    The Nocturnal Dances of Don Juanquixote, Op 58 (Chamber Music III, for cello and string orchestra)

    Performer: Jan-Erik Gustafsson. Orchestra: Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester. Conductor: Klaus Mäkelä.
  • Leevi Madetoja

    Lintu sininen (Bluebird), from song cycle Syksy (Autumn), Op 68

    Singer: Karita Mattila. Orchestra: Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester. Conductor: Jukka‐Pekka Saraste.
  • Franz Lehár

    Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (from Das Land des Lächelns)

    Singer: Nicolai Gedda. Orchestra: Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester. Conductor: Jan Stulen.

Synopsis

Scene 1

The Courtyard of the Novodevichiy Monasterynear Moscow (1598)

The curtain opens on a crowd in the courtyard of the monastery, where the weary regent Boris Godunovhas temporarily retired. Nikitich the police officer orders the assembled people to kneel. He goads them to clamor for Boris to accept the throne. They sing a chorus of supplication (“To whom dost thou abandon us, our father?”). The people are bewildered about their purpose and soon fall to bickering with each other, resuming their entreaties only when the policeman threatens them with his club. Their chorus reaches a feverish climax. Andrey Shchelkalov, the Secretary of the Duma, appears from inside the convent, informs the people that Boris still refuses the throne of Russia (“Orthodox folk! The boyar is implacable!”), and requests that they pray that he will relent. An approaching procession of pilgrims sings a hymn (“Glory to Thee, Creator on high”), exhorting the people to crush the spirit of anarchy in the land, take up holy icons, and go to meet the Tsar. They disappear into the monastery.

The people discuss the statements of the pilgrims. Many remain bewildered about the identity of this Tsar. The police officer interrupts their discussion, ordering them to appear the next day at the Moscow Kremlin. The people move on, stoically exclaiming “if we are to wail, we might as well wail at the Kremlin”.

 

Scene 2

Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin (1598)

From the porch of the Cathedral of the Dormition, Prince Shuysky exhorts the people to glorify Tsar Boris. As the people sing a great chorus of praise ("Like the beautiful sun in the sky, glory"), a solemn procession of boyars exits the cathedral. The people kneel. Boris appears on the porch of the cathedral. The shouts of "Glory!" reach a climax and subside. Boris delivers a brief monologue ("My soul grieves") betraying a feeling of ominous foreboding. He prays for God's blessing, and hopes to be a good and just ruler. He invites the people to a great feast, and then proceeds to the Cathedral of the Archangel to kneel at the tombs of Russia's past rulers. The people wish Boris a long life ("Glory! Glory! Glory!"). A crowd breaks toward the cathedral. The police officers struggle to maintain order. The people resume their shouts of "Glory!"

 

Scene 3

Night. A Cell in the Chudov Monastery within the Moscow Kremlin (1603)

 

Pimen, a venerable monk, writes a chronicle ("Yet one last tale") of Russian history. The young novice Grigoriy awakes from a horrible (and prophetic) dream, which he relates to Pimen, in which he climbed a high tower, was mocked by the people of Moscow, and fell. Pimen advises him to fast and pray. Grigoriy regrets that he retired so soon from worldly affairs to become a monk. He envies Pimen's early life of adventure. Pimen speaks approvingly of Ivan the Terrible and his son Fyodor, who both exhibited great spiritual devotion, and draws a contrast with Boris, a regicide.

At Grigoriy's request, Pimen tells the vivid details of the scene of the murder of Dmitriy Ivanovich, which he witnessed in Uglich.

Upon discovering the similarity in age between himself and the murdered Tsarevich, Grigoriy conceives the idea of posing as the Pretender. As Pimen departs for Matins, Grigoriy declares that Boris shall escape neither the judgment of the people, nor that of God.

 

Scene 4

An Inn on the Lithuanian Border (1603)

 

The vagrants Varlaam and Misail, who are dressed as monks and are begging for alms, and their companion Grigoriy, who is in secular garb, arrive and enter. After exchanging greetings, Varlaam requests some wine. When the Hostess returns with a bottle, he drinks and launches into a ferocious song ("So it was in the city of Kazan") of Ivan the Terrible'ssiege of Kazan. The two monks quickly become tipsy, and soon begin to doze. Grigoriy quietly asks the Hostess for directions to the Lithuanian border. The Hostess mentions that the police are watching the ordinary roads, but they are wasting their time, because there is an alternative, less well-known way to get to the border. Policemen appear in search of a fugitive heretic monk (Grigoriy) who has run off from the Chudov Monastery declaring that he will become Tsar in Moscow. Noticing Varlaam's suspicious appearance and behavior, the lead policeman thinks he has found his man. He cannot read the ukaz (edict) he is carrying, however, so Grigoriy volunteers to read it. He does so, but, eyeing Varlaam carefully, he substitutes Varlaam's description for his own. The policemen quickly seize Varlaam, who protests his innocence and asks to read the ukaz. Varlaam is only barely literate, but he manages to haltingly read the description of the suspect, which of course matches Grigoriy. Grigoriy brandishes a dagger, and leaps out of the window. The men set off in pursuit.

 

Scene 5

The Interior of the Tsar's Terem in the Moscow Kremlin (1605)

 

Kseniya (or Xenia), clutching a portrait of "Prince Ivan", her betrothed who has died, sings a brief mournful aria ("Where are you, my bridegroom?"). Fyodor studies a great map of the Tsardom of Russia. Kseniya's nurse assures her that she will soon forget about "Prince Ivan".

Boris abruptly enters, briefly consoles Kseniya, and then sends her and her nurse to their own quarters. Fyodor shows Boris the map of Russia. After encouraging his son to resume his studies, Boris delivers a long soliloquy ("I have attained supreme power").

The boyar-in-attendance brings word of the arrival of Prince Shuysky, and reports a denunciation against him for his intrigues.

Prince Shuysky now enters. Boris insults him, accusing him of conspiring with Pushkin, an ancestor of the poet. However, the prince brings grave tidings. A Pretender has appeared in Lithuania. Boris angrily demands to know his identity. Shuysky fears the Pretender might attract a following bearing the name of Tsarevich Dmitriy. Shaken by this revelation, Boris dismisses Fyodor. He orders Shuysky to seal the border with Lithuania, and, clearly on the edge of madness, asks Shuysky whether he has ever heard of dead children rising from their graves to question Tsars. Boris seeks assurance that the dead child the prince had seen in Uglich was really Dmitriy. He threatens Shuysky, if he dissembles, with a gruesome execution. The Prince describes the ghastly scene of Dmitriy's murder ("In Uglich, in the cathedral"). But he gives hints that a miracle has occurred. Boris begins choking with guilt and remorse, and gives a sign for Shuysky to depart.

Boris hallucinates. The spectre of the dead Dmitriy reaches out to him. Addressing the apparition, he denies his responsibility for the crime: "Begone, begone child! I am not thy murderer... the will of the people!" He collapses, praying that God will have mercy on his guilty soul.

 

Scene 6

The Square before the Cathedral of Vasiliy the Blessed in Moscow (1605)

 

A crowd mills about before the Cathedral of the Intercession (the Temple of Vasiliy the Blessed) in Red Square. Many are beggars, and policemen occasionally appear. A group of men enters, discussing the anathemathe deacon had declared on Grishka (Grigoriy) Otrepyev in the mass. They identify Grishka as the Tsarevich. With growing excitement they sing of the advance of his forces to Kromï, of his intent to retake his father's throne, and of the defeat he will deal to the Godunovs. A yuródivïy enters, pursued by urchins. He sings a nonsensical song ("The moon is flying, the kitten is crying"). The urchins greet him and rap on his metal hat. The yuródivïy has a kopek, which the urchins promptly steal. He whines pathetically. Boris and his retinue exit the Cathedral. The boyars distribute alms. In a powerful chorus ("Benefactor father... Give us bread!"), the hungry people beg for bread. As the chorus subsides, the yuródivïy's cries are heard. Boris asks why he cries. The yuródivïy reports the theft of his kopek and asks Boris to order the boys' slaughter, just as he did in the case of the Tsarevich. Shuysky wants the yuródivïy seized, but Boris instead asks for the holy man's prayers. As Boris exits, the yuródivïy declares that the Mother of God will not allow him to pray for Tsar Herod (see Massacre of the Innocents). The yuródivïy then sings his lament ("Flow, flow, bitter tears!") about the fate of Russia.

 

Scene 7

The Faceted Palace in the Moscow Kremlin (1605)

A session of the Duma is in progress.

The assembled boyars listen as Shchelkalov, reading the Tsar's ukaz (edict), informs them of the Pretender's claim to the throne of Russia, and requests they pass judgment on him.

After some arguments, the boyars agree ("Well, let's put it to a vote, boyars"), in a powerful chorus, that the Pretender and his sympathizers should be executed. Shuysky, whom they distrust, arrives with an interesting story. Upon leaving the Tsar's presence, he observed Boris attempting to drive away the ghost of the dead Tsarevich, exclaiming: "Begone, begone child!" The boyars accuse Shuysky of spreading lies. However, a dishevelled Boris now enters, echoing Shuysky: "Begone child!" The boyars are horrified. After Boris comes to his senses, Shuysky informs him that a humble old man craves an audience. Pimen enters and tells the story ("One day, at the evening hour") of a blind man who heard the voice of the Tsarevich in a dream. Dmitry instructed him to go to Uglich and pray at his grave, for he has become a miracle worker in heaven. The man did as instructed and regained his sight. This story is the final blow for Boris. He calls for his son, declares he is dying ("Farewell, my son, I am dying"), gives Fyodor final counsel, and prays for God's blessing on his children. In a very dramatic scene ("The bell! The funeral bell!"), he dies.

Credit

Role Contributor
Photographer Mats Bäcker

Broadcast

Gallery