Item# OP0049
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Product Description

OP0049. BORIS GODOUNOV - Excerpts, Live Performance, 4 July, 1928, w.Bellezza Cond. Royal Opera House Ensemble; Feodor Chaliapin, Angelo Bada, Luigi Manfrini, Dino Borgioli, Octave Dua, Margherita Carosio, etc. (England) Guild 2206. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 795754220629

CRITIC REVIEWS:

“[The above] includes almost all recordings of scenes and monologues from BORIS GODUNOV released on gramophone records in which the role of Boris is played by Chaliapin. The program opens with the 2nd scene from the Prologue to the opera - The Coronation Scene immediately reveals the irrationality of the relationship between the authorities and the people in Russia. The monologue is psychologically very complex. This is followed by recordings of the well-known monologues of Boris and other scenes from the 2nd and 4th acts of the opera, made at different times. These recordings are grouped into four groups, each of which corresponds to a certain period of the artist's life. The climax in each group is scene death of Boris.

The first group [tracks 2–5] consists of the recordings made by Chaliapin from 1926 to 1931, which have now become classics. These are Boris' monologues…and Chaliapin himself is good in these recordings, especially in the hallucination scene [track 3]. In these recordings, we are struck by his skillfully made and impeccably polished interpretation. One gets the impression that the singer wants to tell his descendants how to perform the part of Boris, as if giving a master class to future generations of singers.

The second group of recordings [tracks 6–13] are scenes from the 2nd and 4th acts of the opera recorded during a live performance on 4 July 1928 at London's Covent Garden Theatre. These recordings, carried out by HMV as an experiment, are perhaps the most interesting. Unlike other recordings, Chaliapin's performance of the part of Boris in them seems spontaneous and intuitive. The artist departs from many of his developments in the interpretation of the image of Boris. In addition, he is not ‘tied’ to the microphone, as is the case in the studio. And the singer does not address his descendants, but to the audience. Listening to this recording, for the first time we perceive Chaliapin not only as a singer, but also as a phenomenal dramatic artist who, thanks to the power of his divine gift, makes us believe that the soul of Tsar Boris has settled in his body. Particularly impressive are the pauses filled with fantastic tension. But the most striking thing in this entry is that Boris appears before us not only as a monster tsar mired in intrigues with the boyars, but also as a man, with his sufferings, with love for his son and daughter. Only four records with excerpts from the opera were released. All these fragments are included in the disc, including the previously unreleased scene with the boyars.

With a persuasiveness available only to a brilliant artist, Chaliapin revealed in Boris the internal conflict between the aspiration for power and the grave pangs of conscience, revealed the verdict of his internal court. In such a reading of the image of Tsar Boris on the opera stage, Chaliapin will never be equal.”

- Anatoly Likhnitsky





“Greeted as a novelty in the Met’s repertory, BORIS GODUNOV had considerable success and was repeated every season through 1929. From 1921 to 1929, the most famous proponent of the title role in the opera’s history, Feodor Chaliapin sang Boris every season at the Met. ‘Chaliapin brings something to the opera that is greater than singing, greater than acting. He brings drama, that perfect realization and illusion of life for which singing and acting exist’, wrote the eminent critic of THE NEW YORK WORLD. The Russian bass’ interpretation of the tortured tsar became, in short, a legend in opera history.”

- Peter Clark, Met Opera Archives





“Feodor Chaliapin was one of the great Boris Godounovs of the last, or of any century; we are therefore lucky to have these selections,using the Rimsky-Korsakov version, recorded at Covent Garden in 1928. Chaliapin, was in his 50s at the time, still, the voice is gorgeous and imposing. The balance of the cast is Italian, therefore the balance of the singing is in Italian. Jarring to our ears, but multilingual performances, through the 1940s, were often the rule, not the exception. Vincenzo Bellezza, best known for conducting Italian and French works, keeps things moving nicely. Sound is more than tolerable.

Feodor Chaliapin WAS Boris Godunov, and this recording is absolutely essential to anyone seriously interested in BORIS or in Chaliapin or both. I love this recording, highly abridged as it is. Chaliapin has one of the great voices and this is one of the great basso roles. It's an ideal pairing. Guild Music out of Switzerland has done (as always) a great job on the transfer. It's a historic recording so the sound quality, for those new to historic records, won't compare favorably to modern studio recordings. Frankly, to my tastes, it's superior as this is a document of what the voice sounded like before the advent of fillers, amplification and sound engineers. This CD is a ‘must’!'”

- Z. D. Akron