Godunov, Boris

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(Musorgsky: Boris Godunov). Bass. Regent to the recently dead young Tsar Fyodor (elder son of Ivan the Terrible). The people persuade Boris to be the new Tsar, not knowing he has murdered the Tsarevich Dimitri, who would have succeeded his brother. Boris has two children: his daughter Xenia was to be married to the Tsar, his son is called Fyodor. When a pretender arrives, claiming to be the resurrected Tsarevich, Boris's guilt overwhelms him and he loses his senses, bidding farewell to his son as he dies.

Russian, American, and English basses have succeeded in this role (Fyodor Chaliapin, Alexander Kipnis, George London, Yevgeny Nesterenko, Nicola Rossi‐Lemeni, Robert Lloyd (the first Briton to sing this role at the Kirov Opera, 1990), John Tomlinson, Paata Burchuladze), but there was a period of about twenty years in the 1950s to 1970s when it was almost the exclusive property of Bulgarians, most notably Boris Christoff, Nicolai Ghiaurov, and Nicola Ghiuselev, all of whom had sung smaller roles in the same opera earlier in their career. Created (1874) by Ivan Mel'nikov.

Subjects: Opera.

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