Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov / Nesterenko Arkhipova Piavko Yaroslavtsev Sokolov Khaikin Bolshoi Opera|
Actors: Aleksandr Borisov, Nikolai Cherkasov, Vladimir Balashov, Yuri Leonidov, Andrei Popov
Director: Grigori Roshal
Genres: Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Good performance, but absolutely shameful dvd production
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 02/09/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is a 1970s Bolshoi Opera performance of Boris Godunov. It is the "traditional" Rimsky-Korsakov version -- the trend nowadays is to use more of Mussorgsky's own orchestration. Either way, the performance is "authentic" in the best way, with two great performances: Nesterenko as Boris and Arkipova as Marina.
Why the single star then? Such a good performance of an opera should not have been given the shameful production presented here. There are NO subtitles, a real drawback in an opera that depends so much on dialogue. There isnt even a cast list: we are just told I. Arkhipova, Nesterenko, etc. For an opera with a large cast, the producers could have at least matched the name to the character. The video transfer is poor -- there are fadeouts and white spots, frustrating because the original appears to be a good production. Colorful sets, surprisingly good camerawork for the era. It was obviously a good performance of a great opera, and it's shameful that the producers of this dvd could not be bothered to even list the cast or provide subtitles. Boo!
ETA: This VERY SAME performance is now available on the Kultur label, with subtitles, a full cast list, and much better sound/picture quality. So if you have this video, DITCH IT, and get the Kultur video. It's more expensive, but it's well worth it."
Long live Tsar Boris!
Plaza Marcelino | Caracas Venezuela | 01/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a close as you'll get to this work's inner soul. It also makes you wonder, how many more filmed or taped great performances, not just of this seminal work, so dear and close to that great theatre that is the Bolshoi, but also of other russian masterpieces, lie gathering dust in the vaults of what in soviet times used to be known as Mosfilm and the All-Union Radio? What will take for an enterprising company to dig them out and rescue them for the DVD public? If this release is a sample of what awaits us in those vaults, then a most mouth-watering one it is!
This performance, caught live at a 1978 performance, always enjoyed some sort of legendary status. Indeed, the cast is phenomenal, the chorus first-rate, the long-seasoned conductor at his most inspired, its reappearance in DVD format deserves a standing applause. It is not perfect, though: there are no subtitles and the DVD mercilessly exposes a few faults and physical deterioration in the master tape, product of what has surely been insufficiently careful keeping. But what a performance it is! You have here the Bolshoi's usual composite of Rimsky-Korsakov's versions (for the original Mussorgski version you'll have to go to the excellent Gergiev-conducted DVD Mariinski Theatre version of the Tarkovski production originally devised for the ROH Covent Garden): that means a spectacular Coronation Scene (the Musorgski original's main weakness), no parrot-incident narration by the Crown Prince in Act 2, a truncated 3rd Act (the Rangoni intrigues with their odd but wonderful musical figurations altogether absent, we actually see him for a few seconds only, blessing the lovers after that curiously proto-Puccinian duet that closes that so-called "Polish Act"), but in turn we gain back the St Basil Scene that Mussorgski ended up supressing, much to his regret, in his final version, with an additional Boris appearance and his dialogue with the fool. So, the fool is present at the Kromy forest revolt only for the scene's end, and there is no Shchelkalov speech before the Boyars in the 1st scene of Act 4, before Shuiski arrives. That act's scenes are presented Kromy revolt scene first, Boris' death later (for a time it was common practice in the USSR to reverse this order, thus reverting back to Musorgski's original).
Nestierenko was a superb Boris, his voice less powerful perhaps than that of other famous exponents of the past, russian or not, like Petrov, Pirogov, Talvela or Christoff but with a tender, lyrical tint that recalls Shaliapin's voice as preserved in 78 rpm discs but without the old man's excessive theatricalities or tinkering with the text in the clock scene. Arkhipova had been around singing Marina since the late 1950's (she portrayed the role in the Melodia 1962 set that preserved for us Ivan Petrov's impersonation of the leading role and appeared for the last time in the same company's 1983 set of the original Musorgski score, with Alexander Vedernikov as Boris) but was still in a very fine voice by 1978 although she no longer could impersonate a physically credible young girl; when she enters the stage for the first time she receives an understandable and deserved ovation from the audience, as she was one of the Bolshoi company's undisputed divas. Vladislav Piavko is a bold False Dimitri, the Pimen is superb, the Varlaam not only a very fine singer but a surprisingly good actor too, all supported as I said before, by an outstanding chorus that carries this music in their bones, everything enhaced, on top of that, by the magnificence of the venue.
Sound quality is good enaough but variable and, this being caught live (the mikes show aplenty, TV cameras mercifully don't) singers' voice sometimes drop off abruptly or suddenly gain in volume as a consequence of microphone placing. Orchestra players' arrangement follows traditional theatre pit layout and is reflected in the generally good stereo perspective. Images are good and camera work unobtrusive, with good definition. Transfer to the NTSC colour standard from the original 625-line SECAM has been successfully processed."
C. Velliadis | Alabama | 02/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a carper you can point out that the lack of English subtitles lessens your appreciation of the whole, even when you know the storyline it would be nice to be able to follow along
with the monologues. Having said that,the Boris of Nesterenko is overwhelming, he dominates the stage with his presence and completely overshadows his colleagues vocally. That is not to say that there is not some very, very fine singing on the part of the other singers, it is just that Nesterenko is so magnificent, his part alone is worth the admission fee. Throw in great scenery, costumes, and the great work of Khaikin and the orchestra and you have a Boris for the ages. C. Velliadis."
A Great Value -- But Not the Best Boris
M. F TERRIS | Miami, FL USA | 11/17/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Boris is a work of incredible genius, and as other reviewers have noted, there is much to be said for purchasing this production:
* It is beautifully staged, sung, and acted;
* The disc is bargain priced;
* It is the best recording of the Rimsky-Korsakov orchestration on the market.
Unfortunately, it also has its limitations:
* The sound quality is good but not really up to modern standards. The sound's limitations will be a serious problem if you have state-of-the art equipment. If, however, you're listening on your TV or through a simple stereo, you may not even notice it.
* The visual quality while very good for its day is less than optimal. Again, with an old-style TV, this is not a problem. With HDTV you will be aware of it.
* There are no captions.
* This is only Rimsky's orchestration, not Mussorgsky's own.
Most importantly, it does not compare with Kirov recording on Philips, either technically, dramatically, or as a musical performance."