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Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov (1990)

Robert Lloyd , Olga Borodina , Andrei Tarkovsky , Valery Gergiev  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.98
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Frequently Bought Together

Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov + Mussorgsky - Khovanshchina / Abbado, Ghiaurov, Atlantov, Vienna State Opera + Glinka - A Life for the Tsar / Nesterenko, Mescheriakova, Lomonosov, Zaremba, Bezhko, Lazarev, Bolshoi Opera
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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Lloyd, Olga Borodina, Alexei Steblianko, Sergei Leiferkus
  • Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky, Valery Gergiev
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Unknown (Dolby Digital 5.1), Russian (DTS 5.1), Russian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Philips
  • DVD Release Date: May 14, 2002
  • Run Time: 210 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000631A9
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,885 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Features Tarkovsky's acclaimed production of Boris Godunov, remastered in 5.1 surround as well as LPCM digital stereo.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
133 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Boris" as Mussorgsky would have wanted it! April 20, 2001
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Look no further - finally, Mussorgsky's ideas about his great drama have been realized. This is the ONLY video of Boris Godunov using Mussorgsky's own orchestration. (After the composer's death, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov took it upon himself to create a new orchestration, arrogantly considering that Mussorgsky could not possibly have meant his music to sound the way it did. Unfortunately, this reorchestration was the standard version until very recently - almost all the available recordings of the great Russian basses in this role are the Rimsky-Korsakov version.) Murder, treachery, passion and misery - what more could one want from a great opera? Mussorgsky's epic is brilliantly staged by the great Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky in a rich production from London's Covent Garden (1983). Tarkovsky succeeds in posing disquieting psychological questions in a brutally faithful rendition of great originality and profundity. There are no cuts in Mussorgsky's music in this production: it is allowed to speak for itself. The film dates from 1990, when the production was given and filmed at St. Petersburg's ornate Mariinsky Theater. A mostly Russian cast, including Olga Borodina as Marina, Alexei Steblianko as the false Dimitri, Sergei Leiferkus as Rangoni and Alexander Morosov as Pimen, is headed by the English bass Robert Lloyd in the title role (and only rarely is his foreign accent noticeable!). The singing is magnificent throughout - I think the recording technology itself is responsible for a loss of sheen from the soloists and the orchestra, conducted with true insight and bravura by a young Valery Gergiev. The chorus is superb. My only criticism is that, throughout, the film is somehow too clean and self-conscious. Read more ›
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful picture mars a valuable production April 30, 2003
Format:DVD
Although this is a valuable record of a memorable production (the great Russian film-maker Andrei Tarkovsky's only operatic staging), purchasers of the DVD should be warned that the picture quality is absolutely diabolical.
It was sourced from a PAL video recording originally made by the BBC, but for some reason (presumably US/Japanese sales) the DVD authors decided to convert it into the NTSC system, which plays havoc with the picture definition. Worse, the low-bitrate transfer has added digital artefacts galore, which get particularly blocky every time the camera pans or zooms.
Thankfully, the sound quality (either PCM stereo or DTS 5.1) is vastly superior, and the set as a whole is clearly a must for Mussorgsky fans and Tarkovsky completists - bad though the picture is, it never completely obliterates the virtues of the original. But it's a real pity that corporate greed has made this such a badly compromised product, as I can't see a separate PAL DVD appearing any time soon.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Musical Drama of Genius September 5, 2003
Format:DVD
Boris Godunov is perhaps the most intensely dramatic of all operas, showing the fall of a great man marred by his guilt in the struggle for power. That decline and fall is reflected in the rise of his nemesis, Gregory (the false Dmitri), who in history died shortly after seizing the crown at the hands of the ever conniving Shuisky. Beyond these personal tragedies and intrigues is deeper tragedy of the Russian people; they are forever suffering and misled. "Hungry people,cry" is the last line of the opera.
Mussorgsky's extraordinarily original music makes us live and feel every nuance of his drama. All roles are beautifully sung and powerfully acted. Lloyd is a brilliant Boris. I have never seen another Varlaam portray his role with such humor. Cardinal Rangoni hovers like a spider over Marina as he twists her to his will. Gergiev is a superb conductor of Mussorgsky's original orchestrations.
The staging is also extraordinary: Tarkovsky brilliantly uses the same basic set depict a myriad of scenes, enabling each to flow into the next seamlessly. Actors portray sculptures in the Polish garden scene, changing position to mark shifts of perspective. Nevertheless, some of his devices detract from the inner strength of the drama: Boris recoils in terror from the call for alms of poor in the coronation scene; the ghost of Dmitri (the rightful Tsar whom Boris had had murdered)hovers endlessly through the play. Worst of all: Tarkovsky has everyone fall down dead at the end of the Kromny scene, instead of marching out in false triumph behind the false Dmitri.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boris Godunov November 6, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I think that this DVD is the greatest opera DVD in my collection. The production itself is beautiful. All of the singers are fabulous. Rarely (particularly in a live production)are all of the singers first rate. The tessatura for Dimitri is a killer. The tenor handles it beautifully. The singer playing Varlaam is a gem. His voice is wonderful and his acting is very entertaining. Borodina is magical in her love duet with Dimitri. Their duet is like two vipers dancing in a circle. Each could deliver a deadly bit to the other. Leiferkus as Rangoni gives a performance that insinuates evil.

With this production, Boris stands up as one of the world's greatest operatic masterpieces along anything out of Wagner's or Verdi's top drawer.

By the way, the production has a very satisfying psychological quality to it. It is not a bunch of actors that are stiff as a board singing on a stage that is loaded with ornate sets. The production is very involving and really quite modern. The colors are breathtaking.

The DVD is fully entertaining and bears frequent reviewing. If I could, I would give it 10 stars. I cannot imagine a better staged Boris.

Post Script: I am not changing my impression of this fabulous performance. It is still probably the best performed opera I have on DVD, but now I have a flat screen LCD television. The Sony Bravia hilites the rather low level resolution of this production. If you have a traditional (not digital or hi-definition) television. the resolution will still look quite good. On and LCD or plasma television, the current version of the DVD may disappoint.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Very strange and poor staging. I have a better older production and...
Very strange and poor staging. I have a better older production and don't understand the high praise for this one. Any one expecting sometrhign exceptional might be dissapointed. Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Marilyn Kosmowski
5.0 out of 5 stars The great opera of the Russian langujage!
Truly a masterpece of the "smuta"- time of troubles an\d the rise of the Romanovs.He also wrote "Pictures at an exhibition and the Great gate of Kiev and "Night on... Read more
Published 6 months ago by rh
5.0 out of 5 stars Idiosyncratic but brilliant
This Kirov Opera staging is somewhat quirky, vacillating between neo-traditionalism and sometime arcane modern symbolism, but overall it hangs together. Read more
Published 10 months ago by James A. Altena
4.0 out of 5 stars The Whole Megillah
I had been searching for a production of Boris Godunov on DVD that contained most of the original music by Mussorgsky with decent "singing actors," and excellent orchestra and no... Read more
Published 10 months ago by H. Curl
5.0 out of 5 stars THRONES DOMINATIONS AND POWERS
This production was filmed in St Petersburg, but Tarkovsky's staging was originally put on at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, which is where I saw Boris Godunov for the one... Read more
Published on November 21, 2010 by DAVID BRYSON
4.0 out of 5 stars Boris Godunov DVD Review
Before my partner and I went to the Metropolitan Opera's Boris Godunov in the movie theaters, we thought we should watch and hear the opera in advance. Read more
Published on November 11, 2010 by Michael J. Mcpherson
4.0 out of 5 stars BORIS NOT BORING
Seeing the names "Valery Gergiev" and "Kirov Opera", my interest was instantly piqued. As both are renowned globally for their superb performances, this is the one I chose (from... Read more
Published on October 15, 2010 by elsiejohn
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Production
This is mainly to echo other rave reviews. The singing is simply spectacular in every role. Lieferkus as Rangoni and Lloyd as Boris are incredible both singing and acting. Read more
Published on April 18, 2010 by Paul L. McKaskle
5.0 out of 5 stars "Boris Godunov"
This is an excellent production of an opera that is in danger of being neglected. The stage director, respected Russian film director Andrei Tarkovsky, respects history and the... Read more
Published on March 27, 2010 by Wayne R. Klatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Boris Godunov
I enjoyed this Kirov production of Boris Godunov. The singing was excellent. The staging was creative and the sets were superb. Read more
Published on September 15, 2009 by Lester N. Ploss MD
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