Mussorgsky’s last opera dramatizes the conspiracy of Prince Khovansky against Tsar Peter the Great, and the epic ends with the exile, murder and suicide of all the power groups of old Russia. When Musorgsky died in 1881, it was unfinished, and Rimsky-Korsakov completed it; Ravel and Stravinsky made another version for Diaghilev in 1911; in 1959 Shostakovich went back to the original and rediscovered a masterpiece. Caryl Emerson offers a provocative reading of Mussorgsky’s achievement. Gerard McBurney relates the non-European inspiration in the score to Mussorgsky’s conception of history, while Rosamund Bartlett describes the cultural impetus for his historical vision.
Contents: Apocalypse Then, Now, and (for Us) Never: Reflections on Musorgsky’s Other Historical Opera, Caryl Emerson; Musorgsky’s Music of Time, Gerard McBurney; ‘Khovanshchina’ in Context, Rosamund Bartlett; Khovanshchina: Libretto by Modest Musorgsky; The Khovansky Affair: English translation by Carol Borah Palca.
All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.
The Daily Telegraph
Brilliantly produced and superb value.
The Sunday Times
Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.
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.