The Matthew Bucksbaum Family Lyric Opera Broadcasts of the 2011/12 Lyric Opera of Chicago season continue on Classical 90.5 this Saturday, May 26, at noon with a performance of Boris Godunov, the only completed opera by Modest Mussorgsky. The Russian-language libretto was written by the composer, and is based on the "dramatic chronicle" Boris Godunov by Aleksandr Pushkin, and, in the revised version of 1872, on the History of the Russian State by Nikolay Karamzin. The performance will run approximately three hours.
Boris Godunov is one of the most searing lyric dramas of all time, featuring arguably the greatest bass role ever created. In the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production Ferruccio Furlanetto becomes Boris, who is haunted by the specter of the child he murdered to become Tsar, surrounded by whispers and enemies, and threatened by a pretender to his throne. And all the while his people are starving.
The score radiates all the grief and grandeur that was Tsarist Russia, with thrilling music for the huge chorus. Mussorgsky's masterwork is extraordinary in its intimacy, too, however, revealing Boris as both the public and the private man, as it peels open the psyche of a tormented ruler who succumbs to his own guilty conscience.