Boris Godunov...........René Pape
Prince Shuisky..........Oleg Balashov
Perhaps 4.5 hours of Boris Godunov live from the Met in HD is easier for us on the west coast. 9 a.m. to 1:30 doesn't seem so bad. Especially not when you are watching the absolutely spectacular René Pape. The entire role of Boris, especially when sung by René, is a mad scene, it would seem. He's been watching too much Anna Netrebko mad scenes, or perhaps Natalie Dessay.
I understand we were seeing an uncut version so there were probably a few scenes I had never seen before. My main previous memory of this opera, in San Francisco possibly in 1983, is of the chorus work which was spectacular. It is one of the more powerful choral operas and was again spectacular today.
I notice that on its last appearance in SF in 2008 the role of Marina was completely cut. The scene with Dmitri, sung brilliantly by Aleksandrs Antonenko, and Marina, sung today by Ekaterina Semenchuk, was wonderfully sexy. Sex at the opera always keeps things moving.
I liked everything about this. The last scene after Boris is dead does seem a bit superfluous. I flagged this opera as eagerly anticipated and it was definitely worth it. Magnificent.
After trashing Rheingold, am I required to comment on the production? It did what productions are supposed to do: provide an illuminating context while not trying to take over the story.