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Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Cluytens, Christoff

Release Date: 09/17/2002 
Label:  Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog #: 67881   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  John LaniganEvelyn LearMelanija BugarinovicJacques Mars,   ... 
Conductor:  André Cluytens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire ParisSofia National Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 23 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This note-complete, beautiful-sounding 1962 performance of the Rimsky-Korsakov version of Boris has a great deal to recommend it. As he had done 10 years earlier, Boris Christoff sings Boris, Pimen, and Varlaam--a stunt only possible in the recording studio. I must admit that although at the start of each new character (Pimen's first few minutes; Varlaam's first few minutes) Christoff manages to alter his sound to the specific personality, once he lets loose and sings out, it's Christoff again. The Pimen is certainly reserved and quiet and Varlaam is boisterous, but that voice is unmistakeable. So if you don't like his voice, this set clearly isn't for you--but who doesn't like Christoff? The sound is dark and aristocratic and he uses it so Read more colorfully that he's almost visible. His Boris is a huge character, with plenty of wild anger in the second act leading up to the Clock scene, and his Death throes make you want to call for a medic. But he's also a noble leader. Let's face it, it's a great portrayal. In addition, since André Cluytens strangely opts to play down the high drama and let the music flow beautifully, it's up to the singers to carry the drama, and that Christoff does.

John Lanigan's Shuisky is good, but he doesn't quite make the skin crawl as a great Shuisky can; Anton Diakov sings Rangoni with just enough smarm; Evelyn Lear's Marina is not the usual manipulative bully, and her femininity and lovely sound are most welcome. Dimitr Ouzounov sings the Pretender as a dangerous character (which he is), but there's little that falls kindly on the ear. As suggested, Cluytens' French orchestra goes for a soft, gorgeous sound, and the engineers back it up--and the bells in the Coronation Scene are still a knockout. If you find Christoff as compelling as I do, this is self-recommending; if not, Abbado leads the original version on Sony ideally, and Karajan's (Decca) Rimsky version has the irresistible Ghiaurov in the title role. But first choice for Rimsky may as well be this one. [11/7/2002]
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  John Lanigan (Tenor), Evelyn Lear (Soprano), Melanija Bugarinovic (Mezzo Soprano),
Jacques Mars (Bass), Dimitr Uzunov (Tenor), Vasil Benchev (Tenor),
Anton Diakov (Bass), Boris Christoff (Bass), Milen Paunov (Mezzo Soprano),
Mira Kalin (Mezzo Soprano), Kiril Dulgerov (Tenor), Kostadine Schekerlisky (Baritone),
Nicolai Christow (Bass), Bojan Katzarsky (Tenor), Christina Hadjikoleva (),
Kina Kosseva (), Ekaterina Georgieva (Soprano), Ana Alexieva (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  André Cluytens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Sofia National Opera Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 09/1962 
Venue:  Salle Wagram, Paris, France 
Length: 203 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Composition written: Russia (1868 - 1872). Version revised and edited by Rimsky-Korsakov.  

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