Boris Godunov

By Modest Mussorgsky

ISBN: 9780714544151

166 pages

RRP: £8.00

This famous work has had a chequered performance history, and Professor Laurel E. Fay points out that the interpretation of the opera depends on which edition is used. Robert Oldani introduces the “Boris problem”: Pushkin’s play was not an obvious choice for a young composer, since it had been banned for forty years, and it is the Russian people, rather than any single character, who is the protagonist. Alex de Jonge examines its uniquely Russian character and notes the unsettling parallels of the history of old Russia with today. Nigel Osborne’s comparison of the Rimsky-Korsakov and Mussorgsky versions highlights their individual qualities.

Contents: Looking into ‘Boris Godunov’, Robert W. Oldani; A Historical Introduction, Nicholas John; The Drama and Music of ‘Boris’, Laurel E. Fay; Around ‘Boris Godunov’, Alex de Jonge; Boris: prince or peasant?, Nigel Osborne; Boris Godunov: Russian libretto (transliterated), Modest Mussorgsky; Boris Godunov: English translation by David Lloyd-Jones

Also available Boris Godunov and Little Tragedies by Alexander Pushkin
For a full list of Calder Opera Guides in association with English National Opera click here


  • All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.

    Daily Telegraph

  • Brilliantly produced and superb value.

    Sunday Times

  • Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.


Modest Mussorgsky

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839–1881) was a Russian composer during the romantic period. Many of his works, such as the opera Boris Godunov, were inspired by Russian history and folklore among other nationalist themes.