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Boris Godunov ( , original orthography Борисъ Годуновъ, Borís Godunóv) is an opera by Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881). The work was composed between 1868 and 1874 in Saint Petersburgmarker, Russiamarker. It is Mussorgsky's only completed opera and is considered his masterpiece. Its subject is the Russian ruler Boris Godunov, who reigned as Tsar from 1598 to 1605. The libretto was written by the composer, and is based on the drama of the same name by Alexander Pushkin, and on Nikolay Karamzin's History of the Russian State. The composer created two distinct versions. The Original Version of 1869 was not approved for production. Mussorgsky completed a Revised Version in 1872, and this version eventually received its first performance in 1874. The music is written in a uniquely Russian style, drawing on his knowledge of Russian folk music and rejecting the influence of German and Italian opera.


Composition history

Note: Dates provided in this article for events taking place in Russia before 1918 are Old Style.

Image:nikolai karamzin.jpg|Nikolay Karamzin

(1766–1826)Image:Kiprensky Pushkin.jpg|Alexander Pushkin

(1799–1837)Image:Ilja Jefimowitsch Repin 012.jpg|Vladimir Stasov

(1824–1906)Image:Vladimir Nikolsky.jpg|Vladimir Nikolsky


By the close of 1868, Mussorgsky had already started and abandoned two important opera projects — the antique, exotic, romantic tragedy Salammbô, written under the influence of Alexander Serov's Judith, and the contemporary, Russian, anti-romantic farce The Marriage, influenced by Alexander Dargomyzhsky's The Stone Guest. Mussorgsky's next project would be a very original and successful synthesis of the opposing styles of these two experiments — the romantic-lyrical style of Salammbô, and the realistic style of The Marriage .

In the autumn of 1868, Vladimir Nikolsky, a professor of Russian literature and an authority on Pushkin, suggested to Mussorgsky the idea of composing an opera on the subject of Pushkin's drama Boris Godunov. Boris the play was written in 1825 and published in 1831, but was not approved for performance by the state censors until 1866, almost 30 years after the author's death, and production was permitted on condition that certain scenes were cut. Although enthusiasm for the work was high, at least in literary circles, Mussorgsky faced a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to his plans in that an Imperial ukaz forbade the portrayal of Russian Tsars (later amended to include only Romanov Tsars) in opera.

Mussorgsky in 1870
Mussorgsky began work in October 1868 preparing his own libretto. Pushkin's drama consists of 25 scenes, written predominantly in blank verse. Mussorgsky adapted the most theatrically effective scenes, often preserving Pushkin's verses, and augmented these with his own lyrics. He was assisted by a study of the monumental History of the Russian State by Karamzin, to whom Pushkin's drama is dedicated.

Mussorgsky worked rapidly, composing first the vocal score in eight months, and completed the full score six months later, at the same time working as a civil servant. The Original Version was completed by 15 December 1869. The score was submitted to a committee of the Imperial Theaters in 1870, but was rejected for performance, ostensibly for its lack of conventional prima donna and first tenor roles, but also, it is believed, for its novelty.

Meanwhile, Pushkin's drama (16 of the published 24 scenes) finally received its first performance in 1870 at the Mariinsky Theatremarker, four years in advance of the premiere of the opera in the same venue, and using the same scene designs (by M. Shishkov) that would be recycled in the opera.

Mussorgsky began recasting and expanding Boris in 1871, adding three scenes (the two Sandomir scenes and the Kromï Scene), cutting one (the Scene at the Cathedral of Vasiliy the Blessed), and recomposing another (the Terem Scene). The modifications resulted in the addition of an important female role (Marina Mnishek), the expansion of existing female roles (additional songs for the Hostess, Fyodor, and the Nurse), and the expansion of the role of the Pretender. The Revised Version was finished 23 June 1872, and submitted to the Imperial Theaters in the autumn.

Mussorgsky's friends took matters into their own hands, arranging the performance of three scenes (the Inn and both Sandomir scenes) at the Mariinsky Theatre on 5 February 1873. The response of the public and critics was enthusiastic:

This triumph paved the way for the first performance of the opera, which took place on 27 January 1874. The Mariinsky Theatre was sold out, and the performance was a great success with the public. Mussorgsky had to take some 30 curtain calls; students sang choruses from the opera in the street. This time, however, the critical reaction was exceedingly hostile [see Critical Reception in this article for details].

Initial performances of Boris Godunov featured significant cuts. The entire Cell Scene was cut from the first performance, and there were substantial cuts to the 3rd and 4th Acts. How much Mussorgsky cooperated in making the cuts is not known with accuracy. After protracted difficulties in obtaining the production of his opera, he was compliant with the demands of the conductor Nápravník in ruthlessly excising large sections and even entire scenes from the work, and went so far as to defend these mutilations to his own supporters. Later performances tended to be even more heavily cut, including the removal of the entire Novodevichiy, Cell, and Kromï scenes.


Modern Mussorgsky scholars question some of the long held assumptions regarding the genesis of Boris Godunov. Some of their assertions are as follows:

  • State censorship did not play a major role in shaping the finished product of Mussorgsky's opera.
  • There is insufficient evidence to support the claim that Boris Godunov was rejected for production a second time.
  • There was no conspiracy on the part of the music committee of the Imperial Theatres to deny Mussorgsky a production of his opera. The requirements of the Imperial Theatres amounted simply to the addition of a female role and one scene to contain it.
  • Mussorgsky set about revising the opera with enthusiasm, and embarked on a serious revision going beyond the requirements of the Imperial committee out of artistic impulse, not to satisfy any other demands for conventionality.

Performance history

Note: Dates provided in this article for events taking place in Russia before 1918 are Old Style.

Performances of Excerpts
  • The Cathedral Square Scene (Coronation Scene) was performed on 5 February 1872, by the Russian Music Society in Saint Petersburg, conducted by Eduard Nápravník.
  • The Polonaise from Act III was performed on 3 April 1872, at the Free School of Music in Saint Petersburg, conducted by Mily Balakirev.
  • Three scenes from the opera – the Inn Scene, Scene in Marina's Boudoir, and Scene in the Garden of Mniszech's Castle – were performed on 5 February 1873, at the Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg, conducted by Eduard Nápravník. The cast was as follows:

Hostess – Darya Leonova, mezzo-soprano
Pretender – Fyodor Komissarzhevsky, tenor
Varlaam – Osip Petrov, bass
Misail – Vasily Vasilyev, tenor
Police Officer – Mikhail Sariotti, bass
Marina – Yuliya Platonova, soprano
Rangoni – Josef Paleček, baritone
Old Polish Noble – Feliks Krzesiński, dancer

Saint Petersburg Premiere (World Premiere)
  • Date: 27 January 1874
  • Place: Mariinsky Theatremarker, Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • Conductor: Eduard Nápravník
  • Producer: Gennady Kondratyev
  • Set Designers: Matvey Shishkov, Mikhail Bocharov

Moscow Premiere

Original Interpreters

Image:Ivan Melnikov.jpg|Ivan Melnikov

Tsar Boris

1874Image:Fyodor Komissarshevskiy.jpg|Fyodor Komissarzhevsky

The Pretender

1873Image:Platonova.jpg|Yuliya Platonova

Marina Mniszech

1873Image:Kondratyev and Petrov.jpg|Kondratyev and Petrov

Misail and Varlaam


Role Voice Saint Petersburg 1874 Moscow 1888 Paris 1908
Boris bass or baritone Ivan Melnikov Bogomir Korsov Feodor Chaliapin
Fyodor mezzo-soprano Aleksandra Krutikova Salina
Kseniya soprano Wilhelmina Raab Karatayeva
The Nurse mezzo-soprano or contralto Olga Shreder (Schröder) Pavlova
Shuysky tenor P. Vasiliyev Anton Bartsal Ivan Alchevsky
Shchelkalov baritone Sobolev Figurov
Pimen bass Vladimir Vasiliyev Butenko Vladimir Kastorsky
Pretender tenor Fyodor Komissarzhevsky Lavrentiy Donskoy Dmitriy Smirnov
Marina mezzo-soprano Yuliya Platonova Mariya Klimentova Nataliya Yermolenko-Yuzhina
Rangoni bass Josef Paleček Borisov
Varlaam bass Osip Petrov Vladimir Streletsky Vasiliy Sharonov
Misail tenor Pavel Dyuzhikov
The Hostess mezzo-soprano Antonina Abarinova Gnucheva
Yuródivïy tenor Pavel Bulakhov Mitrofan Chuprïnnikov
Nikitich bass Mikhail Sariotti
Mityukha bass Lyadov
Boyar-in-attendance tenor Sobolev Aleksandr Dodonov
Khrushchov tenor Matveyev
Lavitsky bass Vasiliyev
Chernikovsky bass Sobolev

Subsequent Performances

The work was performed 21 times during the composer's lifetime, and 5 times after his death (in 1881) before being withdrawn from the repertory on 8 November 1882.

Important Premieres
Date City Opera House Conductor Boris Version
27 January 1874 Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatremarker Eduard Nápravník Ivan Melnikov Revised Version 1872
16 December 1888 Moscow Bolshoy Theatermarker Ippolit Al'tani Bogomir Korsov Revised Version 1872
4 December 1896 Saint Petersburg Great Hall of the Conservatorymarker Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov Mikhail Lunacharsky Rimsky-Korsakov 1896
7 December 1898 Moscow Solodovnikov Theatre Iosif Truffi Feodor Chaliapin Rimsky-Korsakov 1896
19 May 1908 Paris Paris Operamarker Felix Blumenfeld Feodor Chaliapin Rimsky-Korsakov 1908 a
19 March 1913 New York Metropolitan Opera Arturo Toscanini Adamo Didur Rimsky-Korsakov 1908
24 June 1913 London Theatre Royal, Drury Lanemarker Pierre Monteux Feodor Chaliapin Rimsky-Korsakov 1908
16 February 1928 Leningrad State Academic Theatre of Opera and Balletmarker Vladimir Dranishnikov Mark Reyzen Original Version 1869
30 September 1935 London Sadler's Wells Theatremarker Lawrance Collingwood Ronald Stear Original Version 1869 ab
4 November 1959 Leningrad Kirov Theatremarker Sergey Yeltsin Boris Shtokolov Shostakovich 1940

a First performance outside Russia

b In English

Publication history

Year Score Editor Publisher Notes
1874 Piano vocal score Modest Mussorgsky V. Bessel and Co., Saint Petersburg Revised Version
1896 Full score Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov V. Bessel and Co., Saint Petersburg A drastically edited, re-orchestrated, and cut form of the 1874 vocal score
1908 Full score Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov V. Bessel and Co., Saint Petersburg A drastically edited and re-orchestrated form of the 1874 vocal score
1928 Piano vocal score Pavel Lamm Muzsektor, Moscow; Oxford University Press, London A restoration of the composer's scores; a conflation of the Original and Revised Versions, but with notes identifying the sources; limited edition
Full score Pavel Lamm and Boris Asafyev
1963 Full score Dmitri Shostakovich Muzgiz, Moscow A conflation of the Original and Revised Versions; a new orchestration of Lamm's vocal score
1975 Full score David Lloyd-Jones Oxford University Press, London A restoration of the composer's scores; a conflation of the Original and Revised Versions, but with notes identifying the sources

Critical reception

Image:Tsesar Cui.jpg|César Cui

(1835–1918)Image:Balakirev1860s CuiIP 73 600.jpg|Mily Balakirev
(1837 – 1910)
Image:Der junge Tschaikowski.jpg|Pyotr Tchaikovsky

(1840–1893)Image:NARK.jpg|Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov


Russian opera of the early 1870s was dominated by Western European works–mainly Italian. The domestic product was regarded with skepticism and sometimes hostility:

As the most daring and innovative member of the The Mighty Handful, Mussorgsky frequently became the target of conservative critics and rival composers, and was often derided for his supposedly clumsy and crude musical idiom:

Reviews of the premiere performance of Boris Godunov were for the most part hostile. Some critics dismissed the work as "noisy", "chaotic", and "a cacophony". Even his friends Mily Balakirev and César Cui, leading members of the Kuchka, minimized his accomplishment. Unable to overlook Mussorgsky's "trespasses against the conventional musical grammar of the time" (Calvocoressi), they failed to recognize the giant step forward in musical and dramatic expression that Boris Godunov represented. Cui betrayed Mussorgsky in a notoriously scathing review of the premiere performance:

Although he found much to admire, he criticized the composer for a poorly constructed libretto, and found the opera to exhibit a lack of cohesion between scenes, making it more a musical Shakespearean chronicle than an opera. He also claimed Mussorgsky was so deficient in the ability to write instrumental music that he dispensed with composing a prelude.

Of the critics who evaluated the new opera, only one fully recognized Mussorgsky's particular genius and skill:

Although Boris Godunov is usually praised for its originality, for the dramatic power of its choruses, for its sharply delineated characters, and for the powerful psychological portrayal of Tsar Boris, it has received an inordinate amount of criticism for technical shortcomings: weak or faulty harmony, part-writing, and orchestration:

The perception that Boris needed correction due to Mussorgsky's poverty of technique prompted his friend Rimsky-Korsakov to revise it after his death. His edition supplanted the composer's Revised Version of 1872 in Russia, and launched the work in the world's opera houses, remaining the preferred edition for some 75 years [see Versions by Other Hands in this article for more details]. For decades, critics and scholars pressing for the performance of Mussorgsky's own versions fought a losing battle against the conservatism of conductors and singers, who, raised on the plush Rimsky-Korsakov version, found it impossible to adapt to the composer's comparatively unrefined and bleak original scores.

Recently, however, a new appreciation for the rugged individuality of Mussorgsky's style has resulted in increasing performances and recording of his original versions.

For many, Boris Godunov is the greatest of all Russian operas because of its originality, drama, and characterization, regardless of any cosmetic imperfections it may possess.

The drama

  • Narrative and dramatic impetus
  • Psychological depth of the main characters
  • Socio-political subtext

The music

  • Skillful musical characterization
  • Thematic development
  • Key themes borrowed from Salammbô
  • Use of leitmotive
  • Use of modes
  • Speech melody


Authentic Versions
  • Original Version, 1869
  • Revised Version, 1872
  • Piano Vocal Score, 1874

The Original Version of 1869 is rarely heard. It is distinguished by its fidelity to Pushkins' drama and its almost entirely male cast of soloists. It also adheres more closely to the recitative opera style of The Stone Guest and Marriage. It provides an interesting alternative in the Terem Scene to that of the 1872 version, it contains the dramatic Scene at the Cathedral of Vasiliy the Blessed (St. Basil's Scene), and it contains several passages the composer later cut to fit his revised conception. The terse Terem Scene of the 1869 version and the unrelieved tension of the two subsequent and final scenes make this version more dramatically effective to some critics (e.g. Boris Asafyev).

The Revised Version of 1872 represents a continued drift away from the ideals of Kuchkist realism, which emphasizes naturalistic declamation. This version is longer, is richer in musical and theatrical variety, and presents the title character in a more sympathetic and tragic light in the central Terem Scene. It contains the conventionally operatic Polish act (Act 3), which concludes in a love scene not found in Pushkin's drama, as well as the novel final scene of anarchy (the Kromï Scene), also a departure from Pushkin. This version has made a strong comeback in recent years, and has become the dominant version.

The Piano Vocal Score of 1874 was the first published form of the opera, and is essentially the 1872 version with some minor musical variants and small cuts.

The distribution of scenes in the authentic versions is as follows:

Scene Short Name Original Version 1869 Revised Version 1872
The Courtyard of the Novodevichiy Monastery Novodevichy Scene Part 1, Scene 1 Prologue, Scene 1
Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin Coronation Scene Part 1, Scene 2 Prologue, Scene 2
A Cell in the Chudov Monastery Cell Scene Part 2, Scene 1 Act 1, Scene 1
An Inn on the Lithuanian Border Inn Scene Part 2, Scene 2 Act 1, Scene 2
The Tsar's Terem in the Moscow Kremlin Kremlin Scene Part 3 Act 2
Marina's Boudoir in Sandomir
Act 3, Scene 1
The Garden of Mniszech's Castle in Sandomir Fountain Scene
Act 3, Scene 2
At the Cathedral of Vasiliy the Blessed St. Basil's Scene Part 4, Scene 1
The Faceted Palace in the Moscow Kremlin Death Scene Part 4, Scene 2 Act 4, Scene 1
A Forest Glade near Kromï Revolution Scene
Act 4, Scene 2

Compared to the 1869 version, the 1872 version has lost one scene (At the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed) and gained three (the two Sandomir scenes and the Kromï Scene). The composer initially replaced the Vasily the Blessed Scene with the Kromï Scene. However, on the suggestion of Nikolsky, he transposed the order of the last two scenes, concluding the opera with the Kromï Scene rather than the Faceted Palace Scene. This gives the overall structure of the opera the following symmetrical form:

People — Boris — Pretender — Boris — Pretender — Boris — People

Later, Rimsky-Korsakov transposed the last two scenes back again in his revision. Critics often mention that in doing so he shifted the focus of the opera from a tragedy of the Russian people to the tragedy of an individual.

Mussorgsky also rewrote the Terem Scene for the 1872 version, modifying the text, adding new songs and plot devices (the parrot and the clock), modifying the psychological treatment of the title character, and virtually recomposing the music of the entire scene.

Other important modifications in the 1872 version are:
  • Prologue, Scene 1 (Novodevichiy Scene) – The conclusion is cut (in the Synopsis below, the bracketed portion).
  • Act 1, Scene 1 (Cell Scene) – Pimen's narrative of the scene of Dmitriy's murder is cut. In addition, the composer added some offstage choruses of monks.
  • Act 1, Scene 2 (Inn Scene) – The 'Song of the Drake' is added (just after the introduction).
  • Act 4, Scene 1 (Faceted Palace Scene) – 'Shchelkalov's Address' is cut (just after the introduction).

Editions by Other Hands

The Rimsky-Korsakov Version of 1908 has been the most traditional version over the last century, but has recently been almost entirely eclipsed by Mussorgsky's Revised Version (1872). It resembles the Vocal Score of 1874, but the order of the last two scenes is reversed [see Versions by Other Hands in this article for more details].

Performance practice

A conflation of the 1869 and 1872 versions is often made when staging or recording Boris Godunov. This typically involves choosing the 1872 version and augmenting it with the St. Basil's Scene from the 1869 version. This practice is popular not only because it gives the title character another appearance on stage, but also because in the St. Basil's Scene Boris is challenged by the Yurodivïy, the embodiment of his conscience. However, because the composer transferred the scene of the Yurodivïy and the urchins from the St. Basil's Scene to the Kromï Scene when revising the opera, restoring the St. Basil's Scene to its former location creates a problem of duplicate scenes, which can be partially solved by cuts. Most performances cut the robbery of the Yurodivïy in the Kromï Scene, but duplicate his lament that ends each scene.

Other examples of conflation:
  • The Rimsky-Korsakov Version is often augmented with the Ippolitov-Ivanov reorchestration of the St. Basil's Scene (commissioned by the Bolshoy Theatremarker, composed in 1926, and first performed in 1927).
  • Conductors sometimes elect to restore the cuts the composer himself made in writing the 1872 version [see Versions in this article for more details]. The 1997 Mariinsky Theatre recording under Valery Gergiev is the first and only to present the 1869 Original Version side by side with the 1872 Revised Version, and, it would seem, attempts to set a new standard for musicological authenticity. However, although it possesses many virtues, the production fails to scrupulously separate the two versions, admitting elements of the 1872 version into the 1869 recording, and failing to observe cuts the composer made in the 1872 version.


Mussorgsky Orchestration

Rimsky-Korsakov Orchestration:
  • Strings: Violins, Violas, Cellos, Double Basses
  • Woodwinds: 2 Flutes, 1 Flute/Piccolo, 1 Oboe, 1 Oboe/English Horn, 2 Clarinets, 1 Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons
  • Brass: 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, 1 Tuba
  • Percussion: Timpani, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Tambourine, Cymbals
  • Other: Piano, Harp
  • On/Offstage: 1 Trumpet, Bells, Tam-tam

Shostakovich Orchestration:
  • Strings: Violins, Violas, Cellos, Double Basses
  • Woodwinds: 2 Flutes, 1 Flute/Piccolo, 2 Oboes, 1 English Horn, 2 Clarinets, 1 Clarinet/E-flat clarinet, 1 Bass Clarinet, 2 Bassoons, 1 Bassoon/Contrabassoon
  • Brass: 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, 1 Tuba
  • Percussion: Timpani, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Cymbals, Tam-tam, Triangle, Bells, Glockenspiel, Xylophone
  • Other: Piano, Harp, Celesta
  • On/Offstage: 4 Trumpets, 2 Cornets, 2 Horns, 2 Baritone Horns, 2 Euphoniums, 2 Tubas, Balalaika and Domra ad libitum


Source: 100 Опер, Издательство «Музыка», Ленинград

Russian English Voice
Борис Годунов Boris Godunov bass or baritone
Фёдор, его сын Fyodor, his son mezzo-soprano
Ксения, его дочь Kseniya, his daughter soprano
Мамка Ксении Kseniya's nurse contralto
Князь Василий Иванович Шуйский Prince Vasiliy Ivanovich Shuysky tenor
Андрей Щелкалов, думный дьяк Andrey Shchelkalov, Clerk of the Duma baritone
Пимен, летописец-отшельник Pimen, chronicler-hermit bass
Самозванец под именем Григория The Pretender going by the name Grigoriy tenor
Марина Мнишек, дочь сандомирского воеводы Marina Mniszech, daughter of the Sandomirmarker Voyevoda mezzo-soprano
Рангони, тайный иезуит Rangoni, covert Jesuit bass
Варлаам, бродяга Varlaam, vagabond bass
Мисаил, бродяга Misail, vagabond tenor
Шинкарка An innkeeper mezzo-soprano
Юродивый The Yuródivïy* tenor
Никитич, пристав Nikitich, a police officer bass
Митюха, крестьянин Mityukha, a peasant bass
Ближний боярин Boyar-in-Attendance tenor
Боярин Хрущов Khrushchov, a boyar tenor
Лавицкий, иезуит Lavitsky, Jesuit bass
Черниковский, иезуит Chernikovsky, Jesuit bass
Бояре, боярские дети, стрельцы, рынды, приставы, паны и пани, сандомирские девушки, калики перехожие, народ московский Boyars, the Boyars' children, streltsï, bodyguards, policemen, Polish nobles, Sandomir maidens, wandering minstrels, people of Moscow chorus, silent roles

Note: "Yuródivïy" is often translated as "Simpleton" or "Idiot". However, "Holy Fool" or "Fool for Christ" are more accurate English equivalents.

Historical basis of the plot

Image:Boris Godunov.jpg|Boris Godunov

(1551–1605)Image:Basil IV.jpg|Vasiliy Shuysky

(1552–1612)Image:Pseudo-Dmitrius.jpg|The Pretender

(c.1582–1606)Image:Maryna Mniszchówna of Poland.gif|Marina Mniszech


An understanding of the drama of Boris Godunov may be facilitated by a basic knowledge of the historical events surrounding the Time of Troubles, the interregnum of relative anarchy following the end of the Ryurik Dynasty (1598) and preceding the Romanov Dynasty (1613). Key events are as follows:
  • 1584Ivan IV "The Terrible", the first Grand Prince of Muscovy to officially adopt the title Tsar (Caesar), dies. Ivan’s successor is his feeble son Fyodor, now Fyodor I, who cares only for spiritual matters and leaves the affairs of state to his capable brother-in-law, boyar Boris Godunov, now de facto regent.
  • 1591 – Ivan’s other son Dmitry dies under mysterious circumstances in Uglichmarker. An investigation, ordered by Godunov and carried out by Prince Vasily Shuysky, determines that the Tsarevich, while playing with a knife, had an epileptic seizure, fell, and died from a self-inflicted wound to the throat. Dmitriy's mother, Maria Nagaya, exiled with him to Uglich by Godunov, claims he was assassinated. Rumors linking Boris to the crime are circulated by his enemies.
  • 1598 – Tsar Fyodor I dies. He is the last in a line of representatives of the Ryurik Dynasty who have ruled Russia for 7 centuries. Patriarch Job of Moscow nominates Boris to succeed Fyodor I as Tsar, despite the rumors that Boris ordered the murder of Dmitry. Boris agrees to ascend the throne only if elected by the Zemsky Sobor. This the assembly does unanimously, and Boris is crowned the same year.
  • 1601 - The Russian famine of 1601–1603 undermines Boris Godunov's popularity and the stability of his administration.
  • 1604 – A pretender to the throne appears, claiming to be Tsarevich Dmitry, but believed to be in reality one Grigory Otrepyev. He gains the support of the Polish aristocracy, and, obtaining a force of soldiers, he marches on Moscowmarker. Crossing into Russia, Dmitry’s invasion force is joined by disaffected Cossacks. However, after a few victories, the campaign loses momentum.
  • 1605 – Boris dies of unknown causes. He is succeeded by his son Fyodor, now Fyodor II. The death of Boris gives new life to the campaign of the False Dmitry, who enters Moscow. Boyars who flock to his side murder Fyodor II and his mother. The False Dmitry is crowned. Prince Shuysky begins plotting against him.
  • 1606 – The Russian boyars oppose Dmitri's Polish and Catholic alliances. He is murdered shortly after wedding Marina Mniszech, and is succeeded by Vasily Shuysky, now Vasily IV.
  • 1610 – Vasily IV is deposed, and dies two years later in a Polish prison. Another pretender claiming to be Dmitry Ivanovich, False Dmitry II, is murdered.
  • 1611 – Yet a third pretender, False Dmitry III, appears. He is captured and executed in 1612.
  • 1613 – The Time of Troubles comes to a close with the accession of Mikhail Romanov, son of Fyodor Romanov, who had been persecuted under Boris Godunov's reign.

Note: The culpability of Boris in the matter of Dmitriy's death can neither be proved nor disproved. Karamzin accepted his guilt as fact, and Pushkin and Mussorgsky after him assumed it to be true, at least for the purpose of creating a tragedy in the mold of Shakespeare. Modern historians, however, tend to acquit Boris of the crime.


Note: Shishkov and Bocharev designed the sets (samples below) used in the first complete performance in 1874.

( ) = Arias and numbers

[ ] = Passages cut from or added to the 1872 Revised Version [see Versions in this article for details]



Shishkov's design for the Novodevichiy Monastery Scene (1870)
The Courtyard of the Novodevichiy Monasterymarker near Moscowmarker (1598). There is a brief introduction foreshadowing the 'Dmitriy Motif'. The curtain opens on a crowd in the courtyard of the monastery, where the weary regent Boris Godunov has 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 Kremlinmarker. The people move on, stoically exclaiming "if we are to wail, we might as well wail at the Kremlin".]

Bocharov's design for the Cathedral Square Scene (1874)
[Cathedral] Squaremarker in the Moscow Kremlinmarker (1598). The unforgettable orchestral introduction is based on bell motifs. From the porch of the Cathedral of the Dormitionmarker, Prince Shuysky exhorts the people to glorify Tsar Boris. As the people sing a great chorus of praise ("Like the glory of the beautiful sun in the sky"), 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 crescendo and subside. Boris addresses the people with 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 Archangelmarker 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!"

A Cell in the Chudov Monasterymarker [within the Moscow Kremlin] (1603). Pimen, an aged 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 voices his regret 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 Dmitry Ivanovich, which he witnessed in Uglichmarker.] Upon discovering the similarity in age between himself and the murdered Tsarevich, Grigoriy immediately 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.

Shishkov's design for the Inn Scene (1870)
An Inn on the Lithuanian Border (1603).There is a brief orchestral introduction based on three prominent themes from this scene. [The Hostess enters and sings the 'Song of the Drake' ("I have caught a gray drake"). It is interrupted towards the end by approaching voices.] The vagrants Varlaam and Misail, who 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's siege of Kazan. The two monks quickly become tipsy, and soon begin to doze. Grigoriy quietly asks the Hostess for directions to the Lithuanianmarker border. Policemen appear in search of a fugitive heretic monk (Grigoriy) who has run off from the Chudov Monasterymarker declaring that he will become Tsar in Moscow. Noticing Varlaam's suspicious behavior, the lead policeman thinks he has found his man. He cannot read the 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 edict. He haltingly reads 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.

The Interior of the Tsar's Teremmarker in the Moscow Kremlinmarker (1604). Kseniya, clutching a portrait of her betrothed who has died, sings a brief aria ("Where are you, my bridegroom?"). Her nurse and brother Fyodor attempt to cheer her up with some songs ("A gnat was chopping wood" and "A song of this and that"). Boris suddenly enters in an agitated state, briefly consoles Kseniya, and then sends her and her nurse to their own quarters. After encouraging his son to resume his studies, he gives vent to his emotions in a long and fine monologue ("I have attained supreme power"). At the end of this aria he reveals that he has been disturbed by a vision of a bloody child begging for mercy. A commotion breaks out in his children's quarters. Boris sends Fyodor to ascertain the nature of the disturbance. The boyar-in-attendance brings word of the arrival of Prince Shuysky, and reports a denunciation against him for his intrigues. Fyodor returns to relate a whimsical tale ("Our little parrot was sitting") involving a pet parrot. Boris takes comfort in his son's imagination and advises Fyodor, when he becomes Tsar, to beware of evil and cunning advisors such as Shuysky. Shuysky enters at that moment with grave tidings. A Pretender has appeared in Lithuaniamarker. Boris angrily demands to know his identity. Shuysky fears the Pretender might attract a following bearing the name of Dmitriy. Shaken by this revelation, Boris dismisses Fyodor. Clearly on the edge of madness, he asks Shuysky whether he has ever heard of dead children rising from their graves to interrogate Tsars. Boris seeks Shuysky's assurance that the dead child he had seen in Uglichmarker was really Dmitriy. Shuysky confirms this in a brief and beautiful aria ("In Uglich, in the cathedral"). But he gives hints that a miracle has occurred. Boris begins choking in a paroxysm of guilt and remorse, and gives a sign for Shuysky to depart. A clock begins chiming. Boris hallucinates (Hallucination or 'Clock' Scene). The spectre of the dead Dmitriy reaches out to him. Addressing the apparition, he denies his responsibility for the crime: "Begone, begone child! Not I... the will of the people!" He collapses, praying that God will have mercy on his guilty soul.

Shishkov's design for the Scene in Marina's Boudoir (1870)
Marina's Boudoir in Sandomirmarker, Poland (1604). Maidens sing a delicate, sentimental song ("On the blue Vistula") to entertain Marina as her chambermaid dresses her hair. Marina declares her preference for heroic songs of chivalry. She dismisses everyone. Alone, she sings of her boredom ("How tediously and sluggishly"), of Dmitriy, and of her thirst for adventure, power, and glory. The Jesuit Rangoni enters, bemoans the sorry state of the church, and attempts to obtain Marina's promise that when she becomes Tsaritsa she will convert the heretics of Moscow (Russian Orthodox Church) to the true faith (Roman Catholicism). When Marina wonders why this should be her burden, Rangoni angrily declares that she shall stop short of nothing, including sacrificing her honor, to obey the dictates of the church. Marina expresses contempt of his hypocritical insinuations and demands he leave. As Rangoni ominously tells her she is in the thrall of infernal forces, Marina collapses in dread. Rangoni demands her obedience.

Shishkov's design for the Scene in the Garden of Mniszech's Castle (1870)
Mniszech's Castle in Sandomir. A Garden. A Fountain. A Moonlit Night (1604). Shimmering strings and harp accompany a pensive version of the 'Dmitriy Motif'. The Pretender dreams of an assignation with Marina in the garden of her father's castle. However, to his annoyance, Rangoni finds him. However, he brings news from Marina. She begs to speak with him. The Pretender resolves to throw himself at Marina's feet, begging her to be his wife and Tsaritsa. He entreats Rangoni to lead him to Marina. Rangoni, however, first wants the Pretender to consider him a father, allowing him to follow his every step and thought. The Pretender agrees not to part from him if he will only allow him to see Marina. Rangoni convinces the Pretender to hide as the Polish nobles issue from the castle dancing a polonaise (Polonaise). Marina flirts, dancing with an older man. The Poles sing of taking the Muscovite throne, defeating the army of Boris, and capturing him. They return to the castle. The Pretender comes out of hiding. Marina appears and calls to him. He is lovesick. She, however, only wants to know when he will be Tsar, and declares she can only be seduced by a throne and a crown. The Pretender kneels at her feet. She tells him to be off, and calls him a lackey. Having reached his limit, he tells her he will depart the next day to lead his army to Moscow and to his father's throne. Furthermore, as Tsar he will take pleasure in watching her come crawling back looking for her own lost throne, and will command everyone to laugh at her. She quickly changes her tune, and as they sing a duet ("O Tsarevich, I implore you"), she tells him she loves him. Rangoni slithers out of hiding to savor his accomplishment.

The Square before St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow (1605). A crowd mills about before the Cathedral of the Intercessionmarker (Vasiliy the Blessed) in Red Squaremarker. Many are beggars, and policemen occasionally appear. A group of men enters, discussing the anathema the deacon had declared on Grishka Otrepyev in the mass. They identify Grishka as being 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 death he will mete out to the Godunovs. A yuródivïy enters, pursued by urchins. He sings a nonsensical song ("The moon is flying, the kitten is crying"). The boys (urchins) greet him and rap on his metal hat. The yuródivïy has a kopek, which the urchins promptly steal. He whines pathetically. The Tsar's retinue issues from 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 yurodivïy declares he cannot pray for Tsar Herod. The yuródivïy then sings his lament ("Flow, flow, bitter tears!") about the fate of Russia.

Shishkov's design for the Faceted Palace Scene (1870)
The Faceted Palacemarker in the Moscow Kremlinmarker (1605). A session of the Duma is in progress. [The assembled boyars listen as Shchelkalov informs them of the Pretender's advance and requests they decide his fate.] 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, just at that moment, Boris 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 Uglichmarker 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"), and gives him final counsel. In a very dramatic scene ("The bell! The funeral bell!"), he dies.

A Forest Glade near Kromï (1605). Tempestuous music accompanies the entry of a crowd of vagabonds who have captured the boyar Khrushchov. The crowd taunts him, then bows in mock homage ("Not a falcon flying in the heavens"). The 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. Varlaam and Misail are heard in the distance singing of the crimes of Boris and his henchmen ("The sun and moon have gone dark"). They enter. The crowd gets worked up to a frenzy ("Broken free, gone on a rampage") denouncing Boris. Two Jesuits are heard in the distance chanting in Latin ("Domine, Domine, salvum fac"), praying that God will save Dmitriy. They enter. At the instigation of Varlaam and Misail, the vagabonds prepare to hang the Jesuits, who appeal to the Holy Virgin for aid. Processional music heralds the arrival of Dmitriy and his forces. Varlaam and Misail evidently do not recognize him as the companion they chased into Lithuania, and glorify him ("Glory to thee, Tsarevich!") along with the crowd. The Pretender calls those persecuted by Godunov to his side. He frees Khrushchov, and calls on all to march on Moscow. All exeunt except the Yuródivïy, who sings a plaintive song ("Flow, flow, bitter tears!") of the arrival of the enemy, of darkness coming, and of woe to Russia.

Principal arias and numbers

  • Chorus: "To whom dost thou abandon us, our father!" «На кого ты нас покидаешь, отец наш!» (People)
  • Aria: "Orthodox folk! The boyar is implacable!" «Православные! Неумолим боярин!» (Shchelkalov)
  • Chorus: "Like the glory of the beautiful sun in the sky" «Уж как на небе солнцу красному слава» (People)
  • Monologue: "My soul grieves" «Скорбит душа» (Boris)
  • Chorus: "Glory! Glory! Glory!" «Слава! Слава! Слава!» (People)
  • Aria: "Yet one last tale" «Еще одно, последнее сказанье» (Pimen)
  • Song: "So it was in the city of Kazan" «Как во городе было во Казани» (Varlaam)
  • Monologue: "I have attained supreme power" «Достиг я высшей власти» (Boris)
  • Scene: "Hallucination" or "Clock Scene" «Сцена с курантами» (Boris)
  • Aria: "How tediously and sluggishly" «Как томительно и вяло» (Marina)
  • Dance: "Polonaise" «Полонез» (Marina, Polish nobles)
  • Duet: "O Tsarevich, I implore you" «О царевич, умоляю» (Marina, Dmitry)
  • Chorus: "Well, let's put it to a vote, boyars" «Что ж? Пойдём на голоса, бояре» (Boyars)
  • Aria: "One day, at the evening hour" «Однажды, в вечерний час» (Pimen)
  • Aria: "Farewell, my son, I am dying" «Прощай, мой сын, умираю...» (Boris)
  • Scene: "The bell! The funeral bell!" «Звон! Погребальный звон!» (Boris, Fyodor, Chorus)
  • Song: "Flow, flow, bitter tears!" «Лейтесь, лейтесь, слёзы горькие!» (Yurodivïy)

Versions by other hands

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 1896 & 1908

After Mussorgsky's death in 1881, his friend Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov undertook to put his scores in order, completing Khovanshchina, reconstructing Night on Bald Mountain, and "correcting" some songs. Next, he turned to Boris.

He experimented first with the Polonaise, scoring it for a Wagner-sized orchestra in 1888. In 1892 he revised the Coronation Scene, and completed the remainder of the opera in the 1874 Vocal Score, although with significant cuts, by 1896. He later completed another revision in 1908, this time restoring the cuts, adding some music to the Coronation Scene (because Diaghilev wanted more stage spectacle for the Paris premiere), and replacing the ending of Act III. These revisions went beyond mere reorchestration. He made substantial modifications to harmony, melody, dynamics, etc., even changing the order of scenes.

Rimsky-Korsakov immediately came under fire from some critics for altering Boris, particularly in France, where his revision was introduced. The defense usually made by his supporters was that without his ministrations, Mussorgsky's opera would have faded from the repertory due to difficulty in appreciating his raw and uncompromising idiom. Therefore, Rimsky-Korsakov was justified in making improvements to keep the work alive and increase the public's awareness of Mussorgsky's melodic and dramatic genius.

The Rimsky-Korsakov version remained the one usually performed in Russia, even after Mussorgsky's earthier original (1872) regained its place in Western opera houses. The Bolshoy Theatre has only recently embraced the composer's own version.

Dmitri Shostakovich 1940

Dmitri Shostakovich worked on Boris Godunov in 1939–1940 on a commission from the Bolshoi Theatermarker for a new production of the opera. A conflation of the 1868 and 1872 versions had been published by Pavel Lamm and aroused keen interest in the piece. However, it did not erase doubts as to whether Mussorgsky's own orchestration was playable. The invasion of Russia by Nazi Germany prevented this production from taking place, and it was not until 1959 that Shostakovich's version of the score was premiered.

To Shostakovich, Mussorgsky was successful with solo instrumental timbres in soft passages but did not fare as well with louder moments for the whole orchestra. Shostakovich explained:

Shostakovich confined himself largely to reorchestrating the opera, and was more respectful of the composer's unique melodic and harmonic style. However, Shostakovich greatly increased the contributions of the woodwind and especially brass instruments to the score, a significant departure from the practice of Mussorgsky, who exercised great restraint in his instrumentation, preferring to utilize the individual qualities of these instruments for specific purposes. Shostakovich also aimed for a greater symphonic development, wanting the orchestra to do more than simply accompany the singers.

Shostakovich remembered Alexander Glazunov telling him how Mussorgsky himself played scenes from Boris at the piano. Mussorgsky's renditions, according to Glazunov, were brilliant and powerful — qualities Shostakovich felt did not come through in the orchestration of much of Boris. Shostakovich, who had known the opera since his student days at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, assumed that Mussorgsky's orchestral intentions were correct but that Mussorgsky simply could not realize them:

One of those "old shore" moments was the large monastery bell in the scene in the monk's cell. Mussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakov both use the gong. To Shostakovich, this was too elemental and simplistic to be effective dramatically, since this bell showed the atmosphere of the monk's estragement. "When the bell tolls," Shostakovich told Solomon Volkov, "it's a reminder that there are powers mightier than man, that you can't escape the judgment of history." Therefore, Shostakovich reorchestrated the bell's tolling by the simultaneous playing of seven instruments — bass clarinet, double bassoon, French horns, gong, harps, piano, and double basses (at an octave). To Shostakovich, this combination of instruments sounded more like a real bell.

Shostakovich admitted Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestration was more colorful than his own and used brighter timbres. However, he also felt that Rimsky-Korsakov chopped up the melodic lines too much and, by blending melody and subvoices, may have subverted much of Mussorgsky's intent. Shostakovich also felt that Rimsky-Korsakov did not use the orchestra flexibly enough to follow the characters' mood changes, instead making the orchestra calmer, more balanced.

Igor Buketoff 1997

The American conductor Igor Buketoff created a version in which he removed most of Rimsky-Korsakov's additions and reorchestrations, and fleshed out some other parts of Mussorgsky's original orchestration. This version had its first performance in 1997 at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, under Valery Gergiyev.


The following list contains all major audio and video recordings of Boris Godunov.
Year Medium Version Conductor Orchestra Boris Pretender Marina
1948 Audio RK 1908 Golovanov Bolshoy Theatermarker Chorus and Orchestra Reyzen Nelepp Maksakova
1949 Audio RK 1908 Golovanov Bolshoy Theater Chorus and Orchestra Pirogov Nelepp Maksakova
1952 Audio RK 1908 Dobrowen Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française Christoff Gedda Zareska
1954 Audio RK 1908 Baranovich Belgrade National Opera Orchestra Changalovich Branjnik Bugarinovich
1956 Video RK 1908 Nebolsin Bolshoy Theater Chorus and Orchestra Pirogov Nelepp Avdeyeva
1962 Audio RK 1908 Cluytens Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire Christoff Uzunov Lear
1962 Audio RK 1908 Melik-Pashayev Bolshoy Theater Chorus and Orchestra Petrov Ivanovsky Arkhipova
1963 Audio RK 1908 Melik-Pashayev Bolshoy Theater Chorus and Orchestra London Ivanovsky Arkhipova
1970 Audio RK 1908 Karajan Wiener Philharmoniker Ghiaurov Spiess Vishnevskaya
1973 Audio RK 1908 Naidenov Sofia National Opera Chorus and Orchestra Ghiuselev Damiano Milcheva
1976 Audio M 1872 Semkov Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra, Polish Radio Chorus of Krakow Talvela Gedda Kinasz
1978 Video RK 1908 Khaykin Bolshoy Theater Chorus and Orchestra Nesterenko Piavko Arkhipova
1983 Audio M 1872 Fedoseyev USSR State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Vedernikov Piavko Arkhipova
1985 Audio RK 1908 Ermler Bolshoy Theater Chorus and Orchestra Nesterenko Atlantov Obraztsova
1986 Audio M 1872 Kitayenko Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir Haugland Andersen
1986 Audio M 1872 Chakarov Sofia Festival Orchestra, Sofia National Opera Chorus Ghiaurov Svetlev Mineva
1987 Video RK 1908 Lazarev Bolshoy Theatre Chorus and Orchestra Nesterenko Piavko Sinyavskaya
1987 Audio M 1872 Rostropovich National Symphony Orchestra, Choral Arts Society and Oratorio Society of Washington D.C. Raimondi Polozov Vishnevskaya
1990 Video M 1872 Gergiyev Kirov Opera Chorus and Orchestramarker Lloyd Steblianko Borodina
1993 Audio M 1872 Abbado Berliner Philharmoniker, Slovak Philharmonic Chorusmarker, Rundfunkchor Berlin Kotscherga Larin Lipovšek
1997 Audio M 1869 Gergiyev Kirov Opera Chorus and Orchestra Putilin Lutsyuk
1997 Audio M 1872 Gergiyev Kirov Opera Chorus and Orchestra Vaneyev Galusin Borodina
2004 Video M 1869 Weigle Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelonamarker Salminen Lindskog

Related works


  1. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: p. 106)
  2. Calvocoressi (1959: p. 137)
  3. Oldani (1982: p.8)
  4. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: p.37)
  5. Lloyd-Jones (1975: p. 13)
  6. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: p.36-37)
  7. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: pp.48-51)
  8. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: p.46)
  9. Oldani (1982: p.7)
  10. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: p. 39)
  11. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: p. 39)
  12. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: p. 42)
  13. Gordeyeva (1984: p.323)
  14. Calvocoressi, Abraham (1974: p. 47)
  15. Taruskin (1993: p.281)
  16. Taruskin (1993: p. 248)
  17. Taruskin (1999)
  18. Calvocoressi (1956: pp. 215, 217)
  19. Lloyd-Jones (2002)
  20. Maes, 368—369.
  21. Maes, 368.
  22. Volkov (1979: p. 227)
  23. Volkov (1979: pp. 227-228)
  24. Volkov (1979: p. 230)
  25. Volkov (1979: p. 234)
  26. Historic Opera
  27. New York Times, 11 September 2001


  • Abraham, G., Essays on Russian and East European Music, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985
  • Calvocoressi, M.D., Abraham, G., Mussorgsky, 'Master Musicians' Series, London: J.M.Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1974
  • Calvocoressi, M.D., Modest Mussorgsky: His Life and Works, London: Rockliff, 1956
  • Gordeyeva, Ye. (editor), M.P. Musorgskiy: Letters, 2nd edition, Moscow: Music (publisher), 1984 [Гордеева, Е., М. П. Мусоргский: Письма, Москва: Музыка, 1984]
  • Lloyd-Jones, D., "Boris Godunov": The Facts and the Problems, Oxford University Press, 1975 (reprinted in the notes to Philips CD 412 281-2)
  • Lloyd-Jones, D., Interview: A Discussion with David Lloyd-Jones on The Sir Arnold Bax Website, 2002 (Accessed March 1, 2009)
  • Maes, Francis, tr. Arnold J. Pomerans and Erica Pomerans, A History of Russian Music: From Kamarinskaya to Babi Yar (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London: University of California Press, 2002). ISBN 0-520-21815-9.
  • Oldani, R.W., John, N., Fay, L.E., de Jonge, A., Osborne, N., Opera Guide 11: Boris Godunov, London: John Calder, Ltd., 1982
  • Rimsky-Korsakov, N., Chronicle of My Musical Life, translated by J. A. Joffe, New York: Knopf, 1923
  • Shirinyan, R. (author), Kondakhchan, K. (editor), M. P. Musorgsky, Moscow: Music (publisher), 1989 [Ширинян, Р., Кондахчан, К., М. П. Мусоргский, Москва: Музыка, 1989]
  • Taruskin, R., Musorgsky: Eight Essays and an Epilogue, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1993
  • Taruskin, R., Russian Originals De- and Re-edited, CD Review, New York Times, 1999 (Accessed February 21, 2009)
  • Tchaikovsky, P., Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Letters to his Family, an Autobigraphy, translated by G. von Meck, New York: Stein and Day, 1982
  • Volkov, S., Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitry Shostakovich, translated by Bouis, Antonina W., New York: Harper & Row, 1979

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