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Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov

21 customer reviews

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Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov + Mussorgsky - Khovanshchina / Abbado, Ghiaurov, Atlantov, Vienna State Opera + Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov / Nesterenko, Piavko, Arkhipova, Yaroslavtsev, Kalinina, Sokolov, Eisen, Khaikin, Bolshoi Opera
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Editorial Reviews

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

Special Features

None.

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: Russian (DTS 5.1), Russian (PCM Stereo), Unknown (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Russian, English, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese, Italian
  • 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 (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000631A9
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,779 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brooke on 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It was sourced from a PAL video recording originally made by the BBC, but for some reason (presumably US/Japanese sales) the DVD authors decided to convert it into the NTSC system, which plays havoc with the picture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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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By M. F TERRIS on 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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By L. Topper on 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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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mark N Decker on April 16, 2004
Format: DVD
This is an incredibly powerful production of one of the most poignant operas written. The cast is uniformly excellent, with Borodina as particularly fine Marina and Leiferkus as a remarkably sinister Rangoni. Lloyd's Boris is wonderfully acted, but his vocal performance is less than ideal--he is far too woofy in his singing. All other aspects of this performance are epic, and it establishes itself as the definitive version of the Mussorgksy orchestrations (the colors and lighting seem to match the music perfectly). Of particular note is the shattering St. Basil scene, one of the most remarkable scenes in all of opera. I highly recommend this DVD.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Alan Majeska on November 14, 2005
Format: DVD
Mussorgsky's opera BORIS GODUNOV is not for the faint of heart in any way! The story deals with the deception and treachery of Boris Godunov, a government minister in Russia in the early 1600s who becomes ruler when the reigning Czar he is serving dies, and then has the rightful heir to the throne, a young boy, murdered, thus assuring his ascent to power. Boris is eventually afflicted with guilt and goes mad. Mussorgsky's music is glorious, and there are lighter elements in the story line, but "Boris Godunov" is an opera with deep psychological and political meanings and lessons to be learned. This does not create the light-hearted mood of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" or Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte", for example.

Valery Gergiev conducts the Kirov Orchestra in a live 1990 performance from St. Petersburg to a packed, enthused audience. English bass Robert Lloyd portrays Russia's tormented ruler with all the commitment I can imagine. The other singers, all Russians are not familiar to me, but they sing with commitment and energy. I'm not sure I like Varlaam's aria as well as Feodor Chaliapin sang it-available in a Naxos overview recording made in the late 1920s- but this "Boris.." is very well sung and acted.

Some viewers may not agree with my praise for this production, but I thought this was a terrific performance, and am overwhelmed by Mussorgsky's music, and the opera plot. I don't watch this very often: it is not for the faint of heart, and I must be in a certain, very strong mood to enjoy it. Recommended if you like (or can handle) the story line and Mussorgsky's music.
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Mussorgsky - Boris Godunov
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